Thursday, 5 November 2015



[autumn issue 2015]

Coverart: Gary Cummiskey

Editorial Notes

dear all PP Friends,

on 8 august, we recommended 6 poems for possible inclusion in the 2015 Best of the Net Anthology, based on the pageview statistics and our concept of what 'best' represents our magazine. the poems which we will post respectively on our 5000-strong facebook are:
1/ 'I’ve told you the fragility of my love' (PP 4.1) by Koon Woon;
2/ 'Komodo Dragon' (PP 4.1)by Allen Qing Yuan;
3/ 'Pale' (PP 4.1)by Stacey Margaret Jones;
4/ 'Intricate Wrongs, Unvaried Histories' (PP 3.4)by Sam Smith;
5/ 'The Obituary' (PP 3.3)by Gershon Ben-Avraham;
6/ 'Autumn Leaves' (PP 3.2)by JoyAnne O'Donnell.
to follow the guidelines, all these pieces were published online between july 1, 2014 and june 30, 2015. -- good luck to the creators.

in late may we here at Poetry Pacific Press published our first bilingual (chinese and english) edition of Create Abundance, a book about body-spirit-mind growth by Zhang Xinyue; in september, we published another bilingual edition of Wisdom for Abundance, a collection of spiritually reflective or philosophical poetry by the same renowned author. for each book, we printed 30,000 hard-cover copies (in china to reduce the costs), but the author and her corporate institution are responsible for distribution and circulation.

our upcoming spring issue of 2016 (5.1) is slated for release on 20 april rather than on 5 may, two weeks earlier than usual because in late april next year, both editors of PP will have to leave canada for health/medical reasons and stay in china for at least six weeks, where no googling is possible yet.

from this year on, we will nominate 6 poems/poets not only for the Pushcart Prize but also for the Best of Net Anthology on a regular basis, but we will not notify each nominee of our nominations: we have to keep our computer time at the minimal level (mainly for health reasons); more important, we encourage and welcome each contributor to revisit our site at least once after his/her work appears in it.

the isbn number assigned to Poetry Pacific (4.2) is 978-0-9919298-6-3.

the coverart: Gary Cummiskey.

in this issue, we are honoured to feature 4 visual artists and 73 poetry creators. 

happy perusing and pursuing!

-PP editorial team


PP's Nominations for Pushcart 2015

the following are the poets and poems we have nominated for 
the Pushcart Prize for 2015::

I’ve told you the fragility of my love
            By Koon Woon (4.1)

Eleusis: Birthplace of Aeschylus 
By Michael Anthony Ingram (4.1)

By Stacey Margaret Jones (4.1)

Komodo Dragon
By Allen Qing Yuan (4.1)

Intricate Wrongs, Unvaried Histories
    By Sam Smith (3.4)

The Obituary
By Gershon Ben-Avraham (3.3)


6 Photos by Peter Victor


Peter Victor is a writer, photographer and poet living in Ellsworth, Maine. He traveled abroad extensively with the United States Merchant Marine from 1979 to 1994. Upon retiring from the Merchant Marine he entered the University of Maine in Orono, Maine where he completed a B.S. in Aquaculture and a B.A. in English. His passions are fly-fishing and wilderness canoe trips. Several times a year he can be found on one of Maine’s remote white water rivers with his camera, fly rod and two sons.

3 Poems by Allen Qing Yuan

Fading, Fading to Black

Fading, Fading to Black
My shadow engulfing heart
It’s grip, tight
It screams glaringly in snowy silences
Like a distant storm on fall’s fingertips
It aches, but i can’t stop
Even if i fade to black
Under this
Everlasting sky
Fading, Fading to Black
My shadow engulfing heart
It’s grip, tight
It screams glaringly in snowy silences
Like a distant storm on fall’s fingertips
It aches, but i can’t stop
Even if i fade to black
Under this
Everlasting sky
Even at the backyard of the world’s night

Gimme a Beat

The beat resonating from
The barrier of my played heart

A track that can only play once
Yet it’s making me repeat

Rhythms hasten to a struggling finale
Tempos splash threatening against life

Harmonious notes crush asunder
Faint, fading bars crunch

My heart numbs in screeching echoes
Struggling for the right pitch, falsetto

Layers of melodic pulses, waves
Bang within the crevasses of my track

I’m not a master, but I’m mastering and mixing
A production incredibly grand without a conductor

Please gimme a beat

Scramble Crossing

Red, Yellow, Green

Hastily, aggressive people swerve from
Lane-to-lane, searching
For any & all shortcuts to one destination
A destined nation

Others are spread out like runners on a bumpy track
Accelerating straight ahead, avoiding or jumping over hurdles
To their fragile finish lines
Whether it may be escalation or annihilation

But I wait, behind the light
Is this where I cross?

Red, Yellow, Green


Allen Qing Yuan , born in Vancouver in 1995, is a two 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

3 Poems by Chrystal Berche

The Sky

Cloud ribbons
Jagged fingers
Of color 

Bridge gaps
Between wispy strands 


Before the stars
there was harmony 

now the moon
to chaos

Fade out Slow

Fade out slowly
Flute song mingeling with restless drums
Fade out slowly
Wolf howl in dusky gray morning
Sound bleeds like colors in sunlight
Edges of memory crinkle
Fade out slowly


Chrystal writes. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggled, the journey, the triumphs and the falls.  Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its poetry and songs. When she isn’t writing she’s taking pictures, or curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

5 Poems by Doug Mathewson

Crossing The Hudson 

After her father died, I’d take the pickup to Westchester every Sunday and bring her a carton of Camels. Only family was allowed in locked wards, but the staff thought we were still married. Holding hands in the Day Room we’d talk and laugh for hours. When time came to go, we would kiss each others eyes, it was our little custom.
Coming home I’d usually pull over to think, have a smoke, and watch the Hudson for awhile. Funny how things work out, you know. She’ll still be locked in the Mental Hospital, and I’ll still be in love.


Got back around dark.
You were sad, and
hadn’t got out of bed all day.
There wasn’t much in the house.
I lit a candle.
We had hummus on crackers,
and lay close.
The little flame warmed us.
We will be alright.

About the light

something about the light
that only happens in Paris.
photo today’s front page

neighborhood street scene
two women kissing,
their marriage now confirmed.

they are young, they are French
their attire non-descript,
but for simple matching veils.

background crowded,
faces seem unchanged
generations from VE day.

wet and dense the air
saturated colors shimmer.
magic still, the light of Paris.


Your sister and her friends were so drunk and loud,
we were all told to leave the Karaoke bar.
Adamantly you insisting on doing one song before we left,
and sang “What’s New Pussy Cat” from the small and shabby stage.
You were horrible, and I never loved you more

Station to Station 

On the sidewalk,
by the pay-phone,
someone dropped
a thousand peso
Golden Garcia
and I used it to call you.

That must have been
Connecting me
and Mexico City
with you
and Oklahoma City.

But there was only
your machine.
You visit your Mother
on Sundays,
since she got sick.
I felt so foolish
not remembering.

Suddenly unsure
of what to say.
I didn’t leave
a message.

Senior Momentum

So deal with my undergarments and pull up my pants.
Tuck in my shirt tails and do the button.
Fiddle with my belt and I’m done.
That’s enough, I’ve lost interest.
The zipper can be for another day.

1 Poem by Richard Schnap


These streets tell me stories
Like an old man reading his memoirs

Of schools whose lessons I ignored
Preferring those I learned in bars

Of jobs that became like jails
Where I taught myself how to get fired

Of songs I wrote in solitude
To win the hearts of invisible women

Of friends that I came to love
Only to hear one day that they died

Of nightclubs like second homes
That transformed into vacant lots

Of watching the world grow younger
While I watched myself growing old

Until I was fully that old man
Reading his memoirs to the wind


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.

3 Poems by Joshua McKinney

A Morphology

The wind taught me that I am not a hawk
the oak that I am not a squirrel scurries
circles up a tree

flames too
spiral trunk-bark toward the
crown of smoke thick
where the sun drowns

dark-veiled I am
not the wind the hawk I think
blames me for this

is the fault of the mind the wind
moves the smoke yet drives the fire
the moral of which is ash is

change in form aims to be always
never what it was its kind the same

First appeared in Volt 20 (2015): 187.

Prayer for My Daughter

The nervous, hurrying
bird ahead of us says
something that isn’t kill
deer. O ear of my ear,
hear what throat-flung
comes  incalculable
through bright air to bless
the continual and misspent day.
It is fair beyond my wanting
and my fear. The names for it
fail all underfoot and above.

You see its murmur
in a foreign tongue, such
strangeness as was mine
a little while, in a parking lot
where hot cars inflame
your green why’s softly
are keeping to shine. O eye
of my eye, see the looking
bird’s inquiry even here,
and eye of my eye, shut
every window with an apple tree.

First appeared in Volt 20 (2015): 188.

Small Sillion

in the meantime the earthworm’s tender
            overthrow unperceived
                        in the ground I strode on whose surface
            sensitive to touch reflects
the eye’s mute logic the invisible
            shape of smells
                        excreted castings—
            the gizzard-worked grit-
scoured ochre scored over
            the cheeks of men
                        themselves become loam

we shall

                                                each creature            
                        inside the soul
            of our own flesh

plough a small sillion

                        and unperceived

First appeared in Colorado Review 41.3 (2014): 146.


Joshua McKinney is the author of three collections of poetry: Saunter, co-winner of the University of Georgia Press Poetry Series Open Competition in 2001, and The Novice Mourner, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize in 2005, and Mad Cursive (Wordcraft of Oregon 2012). He is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: Saunter (Primitive Publications, 1998) and Permutations of the Gallery (Pavement Saw Press, 1996), winner of the Pavement Saw Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared widely in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, Boulevard, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Kenyon Review, New American Writing, and many others. Other awards include The Dickinson Poetry Prize and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Poetry. He teaches poetry writing and literature at California State University, Sacramento. A longtime student of Japanese swordsmanship, he is a member of Senkakukan Dojo of Sacramento.

5 Poems by Brentley Frazer


A Ranger found
four hundred ghost nets
on a seventy kilometre stretch
of beach, south of Aurukun.

He says ‘the local women, with the subterfuge of
moonlight sharks, collect them to make art for

Goes on to mention they've been substituting
Pandanas leaves and Flax cactus with the strings.
Countless generations of knowledge, an ancestral
understanding of flora trapped in a nylon paradox,
drowned fish and hundred year old turtles, mere
empty shells in days.

They drift over from Aceh, down into Southern
Indonesia, tumble though the ocean
tossed up her hair, some of them five k’s long,
like immense Irukandji, or underwater sails.

He’d just come from a conference up The Cape,
listened to some bureaucrats act concerned, said
he ‘may's well believe a mystic who claims to be cloned
from a semen spill on the Shroud of Turin’, that, ‘those
damn men from Canberra, nothin' but spin-doctors,
spectators, a catastrophe of television cameras,
and worthless.’

Irukandji are deadly box jellyfish which haunt the oceans in North Queensland. This poem was inspired by a conversation I overheard in a pub in the township of Yungarburra. As I understood it, the vocal man I overheard works as a Ranger in the Cape York Peninsula. First Published by Literature in North Queensland – James Cook University 2012.


Hornrims and quiff
a natural cowlick, untamed as
his wanderlust.
This of him I will always remember.
In my best suit
at his funeral. The apocalyptic
tramp preacher says that before we
know it the worms will have their
way with all of us.
The Australian flag and slouch hat on
his coffin, a past
I never felt a part of. A child
hood of summers by his side on riverbanks
shorelines and sitting in dinghies.
He always clowned around, never
mentioned atrocities or talked of
war at all.

I have a terrible ear for jokes. He told
me a thousand, but I don’t remember
one, or the fishing stories.
Crazy dances
and spoon percussion of Cock Eyed Sue
the intangible web of memory like his voice
will dim
when I think of him.

First published by BroadSheet – New, New Zealand Poetry 2014

for Carolyn

Your whale tethered to a pier,
symbol of the difference between
our generations, this process of
being that fosters experience,
a treacle dimension in which
the unknown discovers itself.

It’s gotten thinner this syrup,
since you ran for your brother
showing the discovery, the dead
docked mammal knocking its skull
on the pylons.

You didn’t mention
it but I could imagine the shrieking
of children, the squeak of swings,
the fact that you could back then
still see lobsters in the rock ponds,
an octopus in the shadows of the jetty.

Where are we going now my friend?
All of us I mean, billions on a
pebble soaring through a void,
circling one another as gulls
around a jellyfish on the sand.

Why do you now cower in the shadow
of the other, under the tongue of
the mirror self, soft as the incest
of wings, the summer when you first

I remember as though yesterday
pouring Listerine™ on my sister’s
skinned knees and the way they
continued to bleed through her
stockings at church.

She screamed so the neighbour
looked over our fence, yet
the world turns on, none-the-less.

First published by Cordite Magazine 2007


A stranger in a doorway waiting,

his obvious involvement in the cruelties
of life evident lent me a cigarette, coughed gently
 and said:

I left her, my Helen, in the Troy
of my bare rented room. So lonely
on the bus today that I cried.

Through the window, steamed

by breathing, upon which I had written
Give me an urban mercy from the tongue
of a silver trumpet o all you heartless!

I saw, sitting like Buddha on a
war monument, a smiling child plucking a pigeon.

Son, there are thunders in a thousand parts of me
and I am living in dread of the rain.

Or another way to explain this would be,
there are winged amphibious creatures
sculpting tear urns in the pale amphitheater
of my heart. And when there is nothing left,
various scraps of marble, the devils lexicon,

dried fruit, nerves entwined in a fitful ballet,
only then will I allow myself to love again.

First published by Jack Magazine 2004


A dull head among windy spaces – T.S Eliot

Broken things by the water.
Someone put a spark to a straw-man.
Mocking the performers kicked over the
Busker’s bucket laughing, coins clanging in
the darkness.

I am running.

Others are running.
Like a bludgeoned swan we are sunk.
Guitar an amputated limb.

Fear of unnecessary operations,
girls with animals
in the gardens
battle flags embroidered

on the backs
of their cardigans.

Where I met an Actress
who is auditioning for the part that
mass communication plays in the
socialization process.

Standing in I read
for the Fabricated Madman.


Brentley Frazer (b. Queensland, Australia 1972) poet, novelist, academic, literary critic, publisher and editor. His poems and other writings have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, France, U.K, U.S.A, India, Japan and Slovenia.
He is currently in the final stages of a PhD (poetry/experimental literature/creative nonfiction) at Griffith University supervised by the poet Anthony Lawrence and the writer Nigel Krauth. Visit for poetry and more.

2 Poems by Joe Frey

Coffee Stains   (variation)

when the
contents spill

                          an unmistakable blemish forms

    an imminent pirouette

                                streaking the
glass of my mind



saturates and
permeates too,

             pouring over to infect


my head

                           damaging my surface

         and eternally

spoiling my content

*     *     *     *     *

Two Birds to each other

 You look while
I look

Upon the
inverted sphere

Of the sky

And this

I shall sing

The sun I will

Coaxing the

To warm the air
between us

The green
feasts causing feasts

And we squirm
for the worm

Footfalls upon
the marsh below

As an impartial

I am driven

Flock in a

Against the
curvature of the sky


I have been writing for over twenty-five years, a quarter-century, and just recently began sharing my poetry with the rest of the world. My work has been published in numerous journals online and in printed form in such places as, The Storyteller, Westward Quarterly, Avocet, Literary Tonic, Chronogram, among others. My work has also been anthologized.

1 Poem by Joyce Joslin Lorenson

Turn around
and let them settle,
the siftings.
Cold flames fall as ashes
through the grate.
Snow sifts through cedars.
Sand funnels through wire
into pyramidal mounds.
Bolting cloths of silk,
linen and hair refine
flour to it's finest.
Cool breezes sift through lace
and annealed light
through the heavens
into a dragonfly's eye.
Seeds sift through
the bodies of birds,
recollections through the brain.
under the tongue,
through the teeth,
sifted from scripture,
prayers from the dark,
sincerity from pain.
Papery silhouettes are sifted
from shadows.
Powdered sugar drifts
from a sieve
in delicate tracery,
sweet from the shrill,
loss from sacrifice,
days from dawn,
seasons from the sun,
years sifting through eternity.


Joyce Joslin Lorenson lives in Rhode Island, U.S.A., grew up on a dairy farm and records the daily happenings in nature around her rural home. She has been published in several print and electronic journals.

5 Poems by Mahnaz Badihian

Everything disappears

All the kisses we exchange
Every day with ones we love
The hates and pains
All the sickness and disease
Disappears  after a while
Because humans vanish every day
Then we recycle again and again
Kisses and hates will continue

The lands, the moon and the Sun
Are here to stay
The earthو our eternal mother
Will hold us
Will treat us all the same
Solid, quiet,
In process of recycling

Musk Deer
In memory of my brother Fardin

We ran in search of you
On  the soil you lost your life
We never found an inch of your body!
The soil smelled of evergreen
And daffodils from your youth

We filled our fists from
That aromatic soil, mixed it
with Zayandeh Ruod water
And  created piece of art
As memorable as Persepolis

you became the river running
Through our house
filled by tears

You became a young Musk Deer
From Isfahan
The perfume of your skin
never left us

Missing piece

I wake up anxiously
 Not knowing what is rushing me
Through similar moments
pouring on me every day.

Love in the form that exists,
Never satisfies
A love so limited, so incomplete,
That we easily lie, easily kill .
Watch half the world

We keep searching for
 Lost piece in our life.
But at the end will give up
And settle with absence
Many more pieces,

This is life ,a precious whole
With lots of missing piece!


The colorful silence
knows me, and always
Waits for my arrival  .
The land of silence, colorful,
 Gravitating to forgotten memories

My Father goes  to baker

Through windows of my bedroom
I heard your voice
From garden with a big bowl of                                    
Cold figs in your hand
Your voice was crispy when you said
“Boy, it was chilly down there in the garden”
Then you added
“But my lungs need this   ”

I asked you, can we have breakfast?
With your beautiful eyes
You said:
“Why don’t I go out and buy bread
From the baker while you are
 Making the omelet”

The day was short and I enjoyed going to
My aunt’s house with you to
Deliver small gifts  
I was happy because I only visited
Them a few times in my life
I saw your face thankful
That I think about my aunts sometimes
We were still talking ,but minutes later I
Found myself next to your grave
On the outskirts of Isfahan
Have I missed something in between
From our breakfast that day
To your move into the earth?


Mahnaz Badihian is an Iranian/ American poet, Painter, Translator and educator. She is most noted for her use of poetry to bridge the gap between western and eastern cultures. She has published more than 10 books of Poetry and translation in Farsi and English. Mahnaz Has MA in Sociology and MFA in poetry.  She is Editor-in-Chief of, The first online Persian literary magazine. Mahnaz is an active member of literary scene in San Francisco.

3 Poems by Neil Ellman

White on White 

(Kazimir Malevich, painting)

And then came white
from the spectrum of the mind
in every hue and shape
all things both great and small
combined as white on white
infinitely bright
as if the colors of the universe,
the stars, all living things,
the air we breathe,
the length, weight and height
of light
were one—
and then came white
conceived and measured
by a single stroke
that turned a million colors
into white on white
and whiter still.


(Sara Ludy, video)

Over the transom
to the other side
where light dances
to the rhythms
of another sky
more real than here
but less
more filled with sound
but quieter
than the passage
of a hand
across the eyes
growi darker
then brighter
as if we were travelers
from another world.


(Yves Tanguy, painting)

Somewhere on an anywhere street
the dogs of autumn, hungry for life,
lick the remainder of summer’s light.

It is Thursday or Friday, any day
with any address
at the beginning of any new age

the end where it began
like the coiled snake of tomorrow
gnawing at its tail.

Everyone is no one
every anyone without a name
the air is thick with irony.

We are what we aren’t
It is what it isn’t.
Yesterday’s tomorrows are gone.


Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published more than 1,100 poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.  He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.

1 Poem by Leonard Orr


I had never heard of red velvet cake,
I asked, is it like polyester pie,
crème de corduroy, denim doughnuts?
You rushed to meet me, bringing
a thick wedge of the mysterious cake.
It was clearly not a human food.
It must function otherwise. Aztec elite
relaxed with red velvet cake on their tray tables.
It powered the long flights of seraphim.

You sat on my legs and fed me bits of the cake
and I fed you; we kissed, lips stroked together.
So romantic a ceremony, my eyes tear, my body
heats to your fever, your germs are my germs.
I am radiant and aglow with you, this manna
you prepared as the angels did, we wed this way,
our arms around each other, we reside temporarily
in Paradise; you cozen and feed me. We take
each other in until we are one and the same.


Leonard Orr has published two collections: Why We Have Evening (2010) and Timing Is Everything (2012). His new collection, A Floating Woman, is scheduled for publication at the end of 2015.

5 Poems by N. Ullrich Katalin

art gallery (c'est la vie...)

tears pains
fears strains
a show of bitter

chiselled in marble
etched in iron
carved in wood
rankled in the whole wide world
wailed in colours of water
in heavy oil
in wind-swept sand
tattooed in your skin

here and now
in 2012

könnyek kínok

félelem fájdalom
keserves szomorúságok

kőbe vésve
vasba marva
fába vájva
világba fájva
víz színeibe sírva
nehéz olajban
szélfútta homokban
bőrödbe égetve

itt és most


A gift is always symbolic.
Love never is.


Az ajándék mindig jelképes.
A szeretet soha.


Fake-flowers in fake-soil,
fake-world with fake-lawn.
fake-drinks, fake-meals,
fake-smiles, fake-grief,
fake-lips, fake-kisses,
fake-hopes, fake-dreams,
- real misery.

Mű-földben mű-virág,
mű-füves mű-világ.
mű-ital, mű-étel,
mű-mosoly, mű-bánat,
mű-szájak, mű-vágyak,
mű-remény, mű-álom,
- valódi fájdalom.

February Positive

However hard it is snowing,
what’s shining through it
is already spring.

These frosty snowflakes
in the nonchalant depth
of their little drowsy soul
are already melting.

Februári optimizmus

Bármennyire is szakad,
ezen a havazáson
már átsüt a tavasz.

A jeges hópihék
meggyőződés nélküli
álmos belsejében
lelkük már olvad.

Feeling Blue

I’m sitting in the middle of a mall.
I might as well belong here.

Crowd, jostling.
Everybody with everybody.
Everybody alone.

I’m sitting in the middle of nowhere.
Letting my legs swing.
Fondling my soul.

No more pain.                                          
I wish I had.


Ülök a pláza közepén.
Akár ide is illhetnék.

Tömeg, tülekedés.
Mindenki mindenkivel.
Senki senkivel.

Ülök a világ szélén.
Lógatom a lábam.
Ringatom a lelkem.

Már nem fáj.                                            
Bár fájna.


N. Ullrich Katalin, Nyíregyháza, Hungary. Born in 1951, now a full-time grandmother and translator, writer, editor for and (non-profit literary web-sites in Hungary), formerly a full-time enthusiastic high-school teacher of English and German languages. Both poems and languages have been priorities all her life, now it is a wonderful challenge, a gift of life for her to translate literature. Very few poems published, some online in Babel. tárlat (c'est la vie...)

3 Poems by Dan Cardoza

City Coyote

You caught my eye as
I drove past the burnt sienna field
near our home

Raised your snout
as if to mock my humanity
my tether to security
does not meet your approval
I thought

When I stopped to get a better view
you stood silent
your thick sable fir bristling in the
heavy summer breeze
ears perked  
showing no fear

When I would lie
in darkness
I often heard you
at the water's edge
where my safety ends
comfortable there
even in the bone cold
of late November

The wind carried your yelp
from house to house
many nights  
waking no one in particular

I was always listening

As the years pass
I can't remember
when I heard you  
you must have journeyed
up river
where your breath grew shallow
then still  
under a damp sage

I will miss you

The Water's Edge

I sit on my childhood bed
head lowered
inhaling darkness
last saffron rays of light

Our lives
mundane cadence
years metronome forward

Footprints at the water's edge

Makes more sense now
the void
the sound of one hand clapping

What matters most about being lost
at the water's edge
is that it does not matter which way
your prints point in the sand

In the end
comfort once forbidden
in the dark
has its own slack tide
it's here
that I wash myself as clean
as a new born blade
before the first cut

Your Last Salutation, Lost Forever in the Ethernet

An email arrived today.
I read it in full
 my eyes bending to the salutation.
"...Yours, Missy."

I stared at the paragraphs
lifeless letters
The painful goodbye.
All those adjectives
wrapping sadness with
a pretty bow.
Those last thoughts
that inevitably come with parting.

You said it was best
and that someday
I would find my true love as you would.
You want nothing
just to keep the car
you left with and your memories.
You will never hear from me again you wrote.

The email continued:
" the day we walked in the rainy park
I secretly wept
as you would not notice the tears.
All those evenings together
our eyes never meeting
distance building its
empty yardsticks.
Goodbye. "

An hour passed
as I stared at the email's
spell checked
perfect grammar
one last kiss font.
I wondered out loud
who the hell is Missy?


Dan participates in poetry readings throughout Northern California, and very much enjoy pushing my comfort zone in this.  There is nothing like owning your own work and showing selfish passion for what you write, heavy or light.

Some of my prior publications include the following: Pierian Spring, Brandon University, Canada, The Archer, Poetry Northwest, The  Poet, Fine Arts Society, Anthology; Avocet, The Ardent Poetry Journal, California Quarterly, Poetry Now, Aleola Journal of Poetry, Eskimo Pie, Dead Snakes. Thank you Mrs. Davis, Community College English Instructor, for giving this kid from a Mill Town wings.

2 Poems by Darren C. Demaree


 It may look radiant,
the distance
between us
& that may be all you
desire.  I am naked
& you are uncomfortable
with that.  Believe
me, that distance
shimmers because it
it holds nothing,
because it wants to hold
you.  I want the same,
but even in this state
I am dull compared
to the rest of the air.


Shallow in my chest,
there is muscle
above my muscle
& even if that is me
removing some fat-
ty tissue, it still feels
good to wrap
the canvas
in my favorite colors.


Darren C. Demaree is the author of "As We Refer to Our Bodies" (8th House, 2013), "Temporary Champions" (Main Street Rag, 2014), "The Pony Governor" (2015, After the Pause Press) and "Not For Art Nor Prayer" (8th House, 2015).  He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology.  He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

2 Poems by Hal O’Leary


With both an open mouth and open mind,
There being naught of which I could conceive,
I came into this crazy place to find,
The answer to life’s riddle is BELIEVE

There being naught of which I could conceive,
The only choice was just accepting this.
The answer to life’s riddle is BELIEVE
Could there not be a choice we should not miss?

The only choice was just accepting this?
Dismiss the word BELIEVE. It is untrue.
Could there not be a choice we should not miss?
There is a choice, there’s reason. Think anew.

Dismiss the word BELIEVE. It is untrue,
A fault an honest man cannot ignore.
There is a choice, there’s reason. Think anew.
Belief’s a superstition .to abhor,

A fault an honest man cannot ignore.
I came into this crazy place to find
Belief’s a superstition to abhor,
With both an open mouth and open mind.

 FROM NOTHING?        

The bible tells us who created,. ..GOD!
This monumental task took just six days,
Our God who fashioned Man from out the sod,
All came from God who set the sun ablaze.

This monumental task took just six days.
We couldn’t come from nothing, from nowhere.
All came from God who set the sun ablaze
The Bible tells us so, so don’t despair.

We couldn’t come from nothing, from nowhere
This caring, loving God created all
The Bible tells us so, so don’t despair.
Believe the Good Book son, or you may fall.

This caring, loving God created all
Accept this loving God without a pause
Believe the Good Book son, or you may fall
From nothing could it spring, we know…because!

Accept this loving God without a pause
Our God who fashioned Man from out the sod          
From nothing could it spring. We know because
The Bible tells us,…Who created God?    


Hal O’Leary, having retired from a life in the theatre at age 84, has turned to writing. Now, at age 90, he has been published in 18 different countries. As a secular Humanist, Hal believes that it is only through the arts that one is afforded an occasional glimpse into the otherwise incomprehensible, and for his contributions to the arts, he is a recent recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from West Liberty University, the same institution from which he became a college dropout some 60 years earlier.

4 Poems by Stephen Gill



The dove of my longing
sanctified in the sanctum of serenity
wings towards
the sky of solitude--
the planet of safety.
She flutters
because of the winds
and cold.
Underneath her flight
there are only humans
no nations.

Gill- 2

She radiates
hues of nondepictable truth
that consecrates
the emptiness of her surroundings.
The leaf that she carries
is from the evergreen tree
of never-ending hope.
The psalm of her silence
greets the emergence
for a cheerful tomorrow.


I am
often greeted by the bursting flutters
of my dove
while rambling the rayless resort
of the fears
from the scamps of my surrounding.

I hear
some unknown voice calling her
to be above the confusing cries
of mindless feverishness
and the hounds of alienation
from the houses of infamy.

I see her
fleeing from the blinding fog
of human conceits
blank eyes
facing blank walls of the present
half-blossomed flowers

Gill- 3

of the youth of aspirations
meaningless pledges of our leaders
and above all
those concerns which lie
in the locker
of the anchored ship of memories.

A soothing glow
from a fireplace of compassion
that would radiates
the redness of young lips
burning the decaying stems
of the buds of the past,
should entice my dove
before the last star of the evening
bids her farewell
for ever.


Let us walk
side by side
my friend
to seek out that dove
that has been sought
since Adam's time.
Let us go
guiding one another
above the snow-capped hills
into the bewildered valleys
to bring that bird home.

Let us ask all beings
even the beasts
if they would
give us their hands.
Let us not surrender.
Gill- 4

I hear the dove's melody
in my soul;
I see its face
before my eyes;
I feel its beat
in my blood;
I envision it flying
across my horizon;
I smell its presence                                  
in the air.                                                    

Hands linked
like brothers
walking side by side
like twins
in the light
dusk or dark
though blind-folded                                              
yet bound in a design
let us go.

Directing one another
let us march
to embrace that dove
before we die.


Away from the slings of vanities
far from temporal confinements
so high you soar.
The crown of solitude
provides your strength.

Sailing on the wings of my songs
I trespass your creation
to borrow
timeless reposing waves
to recreate
in every stroke of my pen.
Gill- 5

With your milk-like feathers
floating with the winds of liberty
you accompany the angels.
Bathing in the sunshine
you play with radiant clouds.
Your impenetrable serenity
tears the blindfolds of intolerance
which consume the rays of virtue.

Unlike humans
you do not treasure
the secrets of love
behind steel doors.
You release around you
soothing calm
that leaves the traces of life
on our lips and cheeks.

From the void of surroundings,
concerns wrapping in a shawl of humility
I enter the shrine of your presence
to be a poet born again.


Multiple award winning Stephen Gill has authored more than twenty books, including novels, literary criticism, and collections of poems. He is the subject of doctoral dissertations, and research papers. Nine books have been released by scholars and more are to be released on his works.  (Websites:; )

2 Poems by Jeffrey Zable

It’s not like I was close with my best friend’s mother.
It’s more that she brings me back to a time and place.
And I remember how my friend would always be checking
his watch to make sure he was home on time because if he wasn’t,
both his parents would work him over and sometimes they’d shine
a flashlight in his eyes to see if he’d been drinking,
and if they thought he had been, it would mean being grounded
and sometimes a slap across the face from his mother.
He always said that she was the disciplinarian
and her mean spiritedness and unreasonable expectations
are what fucked him up in life.
Certainly in terms of discipline my own mother ‘took the reins’
but was quite different than my friend’s mother
in that I mostly received lectures and was made to feel guilty
when I didn’t do the right thing, but was never slapped,
and seldom grounded. Of course, my own mother fucked me up
in her own way and my best friend and I would often compare
how we were similar in being fucked up.
And now as I wait for the news as to whether his mother
will make it out of the hospital alive,
I can visualize her face as it was some 45 years ago
when my friend and I were still living with our parents,
looking forward to the day when we would both be on our own,
living our lives on our own terms—
which, of course, wasn’t quite the real story.


Surfing the internet with my best friend since high school,
I say, “How about Bonnie, that girl you were in love with in our class?”

To which he responds, “You mean Bonnie Franke?”

“Yeah, she’s the one!” I answer.

“You’d have to look under Bonnie Brumfield,
because that’s her married name,” he says.
“I wrote to her about ten years ago and she wrote back.
She lives near Sacramento. Has two grown kids
and works for H & R Block, if I remember correctly. . .”

So I type in Bonnie Brumfield from Sacramento
and it comes up, “Bonnie Brumfield obituary.”

I look at my friend’s face and see that he’s stunned.

When I click on it, there’s a recent picture of Bonnie
along with the obituary, which says she passed away
at the age of 58 from liver cancer.

“How sad is that!” I say to my friend, who silently stares at her picture,
probably remembering how she was during our high school days
when such things could never happen to a girl we loved. . .


Jeffrey Zable’s poetry, fiction, and non-fiction has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines,
anthologies, and newspapers since the mid-70’s. Present or upcoming writing in Coe Review,
Kentucky Review, Tule Review, Serving House Journal, Lullwater Review, Third Wednesday,
After The Pause, Chaos Poetry Review, Mas Tequila, Flint Hills Review 2015 Rhysling Award Anthology
and many others.

5 Poems by Justin Lowe


Dreams make liars of us all.
I am crimping my nose at her morning coffee,
as a worm turns in the magpie’s beak,
and her little dog shivers as she screeches
at the cold tiles on her dancer’s feet,
like my hands she’d dreamt out of her mind in the coffin dark.

I should have left then,
when the stars were high and buttery,
and the magpie ruffled in his nest
and the worm slept easy.

The Vagrant

for added comfort
this poem will have a wall to lean on,
brownstone toasty with late afternoon sun.

for added frissant it will be late September
when the taut air quivers with the sting of frangipani
and a small bird chirrups at you about its travels.

the poem leans nonchalantly,
it may have been drinking,
its grey eyes are glassy with similes.

it seems to gaze over the heads of the passers-by
as though their indifference
were a spur to it to aim higher.

in a moment of doubt it shifts its weight,
lithe as the shadow of a passing cloud.
a breeze is about to steal its hat, but the poem cannot see this

for it is too nonchalant, too glassy-eyed.

Baby Blue

may you find happiness from time to time.
may you be spared the gift of eloquence and a childish heart.
may a branch never scratch at your window.

change your locks often.
plant nothing in your garden that may outlive you.
correct no-one’s grammar but your own.
brush the hairs off no-one’s jacket who you have not seen naked.

give grief its due, Ophelia:
the thing must play out,
the dead must be allowed their dance.
avoid shouldering another’s burden,
for you will only ever be pretending.

avoid counting down, even in jest
because numbers that stop are not time.
remember, daughter, not every choice is a blessing.
and that bad neighbours will move out eventually.
never sleep by a river, my love,
and always lie with your feet to the door.
love without thinking.

Nusakambangan *

every day
my body sheds its tired cells.
much of the dust on my tiles
is me, the dead me.
if I didn’t dust for seven years,
I wonder would I see myself?

of course,
such detritus is a biological imperative,
the price of a body replenishing.
you don’t discuss it in polite company,
but even as politicians shake hands for the cameras,
smile and nod their knowing nods it is happening,
the body shedding the spent the redundant
in order to maintain some sort of equilibrium.

this is the body I live in,
the newly-manifest and the freshly-dying,
the laws of entropy and hope,
all in a perpetual spiral,
the way ideas flash and flicker
in the small hours
in the coffin dark,
when some loud noise from the compound
has set the dogs all barking.

* The site where Indonesia recently executed nine drug dealers, including two Australians.


it is a mixed blessing,
this warm slow afternoon,
the chairs tipped against last night’s rain
murmuring of past, crowded summers
in the soft autumn breeze,

all faded now,
the light slowly fading
between the dusty shutters,
the crowd nodding its assent behind
my eyelids as I write,
not at the words but at the impulse
to make manifest something lurking in the moment,
like the face within the stone.


Justin Lowe was born in Sydney but spent significant portions of his childhood on the Spanish island of Minorca with his younger sister and artist mother. He developed a penchant for writing poetry while penning lyrics for a string of bands, successful and not so, and has since been published all over the world. Justin currently resides in a house called “Doug” in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where he edits poetry blog Bluepepper.

2 Poems by Jim Conwell

The Child

His mother is frightened.
And she doesn’t like to feel
out of her depth.
What could you do with a kid
who seems to know
what the Devil is thinking?
She’s taken him to the priest already.
And to the doctor.
There’s nothing wrong with him.
They both agree on that.
Perhaps he’ll grow out of it.


A heavy shadow,
Her legs are snake black
and their slickness
does not reflect the light.
Her toes spread
as the soft mud squeezes
up between them
and she is coming this way with her deadly mass.
The rustle of her hair is like the edge of knives.
The air is sharp
and her name will not come.


Jim Conwell lives and works in London, England. With an original background in Fine Art, he has worked for nearly 30 years in the mental health field. He has had poems published in The Journal,  The Lampeter Review, Poetry Cornwall, South Poetry, Orbis, Ofi Press, The English Chicago Review, The SHOp, Uneven Floor, Turbulence, The Seventh Quarry, Under the Radar, The Frogmore Papers, Blue Pepper, and Elbow Room and has a poem scheduled for publication in Poetry and Audience.

3 Poems by Gary Lark

You can take them into the woods.
You can take them on the four lane.
You can wrap them in sheets
and throw them in a pit
where the snakes of your childhood
writhe and threaten.
You carry them to the jungle
or the desert or a mud house
where the people want to kill you.
You come home
and run down streets
hoping you can outrun them
but there is a swarm following you
and they can fly faster than you can run.
It doesn’t matter if one dies
there are always more.
You speed up, you slow down.
You’re just another joker
looking for a way to kill
them fucking bugs.

2:30 a.m.
There is no festival,
no party, no celebration.
No, this is a night-watch
two-thirds to five-fifths drunk.
Bars closed, we meet at the Pine Café
across from the shuttered mill
and lean on our separate stools
toward greasy hash browns
and coffee we hope will float us
to a room where the past is dead
at least for an hour or two.
Some search the dark for a face
that will still the loneliness,
sculling a river of wine,
shouting to the echoes.
Some will lie in the car seat
in a ditch
on the way somewhere,
too cold to live
warm enough not to die.

Long Haul
I trucked lettuce from SoCal,
broccoli and artichokes
from up the valley.
I shunted grunting pigs
and strung-out cattle,
all scream and shit,
to slaughter houses
on the back side
of white picket fences
and clapboard dreams.
I ran tons of soybeans
to bins big as hotels,
left them like marbles
in gutters along the way.
Apples and corn,
cold beer and fish,
you name it I hauled it.
Last nine years it was
people’s furniture
in an orange rig
stuffed to the gills.
The only thing I haul now
is my ass to the grocery store.


Gary Lark’s work includes: “Without a Map,” Wellstone Press, 2013, “Getting By,” winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009 and three chapbooks. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hubbub, Poet Lore, and The Sun. Three poems were featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.

1 Poem by Suzanna Anderson

Green Clouds 

The cloud curves through blue
as flowers collect dew
from birth places. Guts of earth
surprise once-clean skin
that stumbles home. Grass hugs
knees as fingers twine the other.

Bruised dress rises from earth floor
tough with mud, frozen cuffs.
Necklace cringes as door shuts
with such force to rattle windows.
Snores rumble the walls,
not like the mouse’s quiet steps.

Carpet scars soft fleshy knees
meant for different work, a life
free of hassle, easy money.
Shoes flee the scene, denies
wrongdoing that led to dung,
manure for a past now buried.


Suzanna Anderson studied creative writing at Bowling Green State University. She participates in National Novel Writing Month every year. Her interests also include watercolor, charcoal, and bookbinding. Currently she is the editor-in-chief of The Magnolia Review and the Review Editor at The Odd Ducks .

1 Poem by Yearn Hong Choi

---To Georgia O’Keefe


A tiny bird’s long beak is
penetrating into the nectar of an oasis tree’s flower
on the New Mexico desert.

Two wings constantly are flapping
in the air to stand still.

What kind of wings are they?

One step backward from the flower
and two steps forward
in mid-air
toward the flower

(No other bird can fly backward!)


You are the most beautiful flower in the New Mexico desert.
I become a hummingbird
flapping my wings 90 times per second
to be engaged in aerial warfare
with the fragrance of the flower for one ounce of honey.


The 10-centimeter hummingbird
is descending 80 meters per minute.

New Mexico desert
from the sky to the earth
is full of your fragrance
via hummingbird’s long beak.


Dr. Choi is author of three poetry books,  Autumn Vocabularies (1990), Moon of New York (2008), and Copenhagen’s Bicycle (2010), and memoir, Song of Myself: A Korean-American Life (2010). He is editor of Surfacing Sadness: A Centennial of Korean-American Literature (2003), Fragrance of Poetry: Korean-American Literature (2005), an Empty House: Korean-American Poetry (2008), and I am Homeland: 12 Korean Poets (2013). He has been a contributor to to World Literature Today and to the Korea Times.

1 Poem by Anne Whitehouse


Black wasp creeping
across the floor
too weak to fly.

Spider thread
so fine it can’t be seen
except in slanted light

crossing the artist’s easel
unused for the past century
since his death.

Scattered illuminations
from fragmented lives.


Anne Whitehouse is the author of the following poetry collections: The Surveyor's Hand, Blessings and Curses, Bear in Mind, One Sunday Morning, and The Refrain. Her novel, Fall Love, is available as a free ebook from Feedbooks and Smashwords. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, graduated from Harvard College and Columbia University, and lives in New York City.

5 Poems by Gary Cummiskey

What’s on today’s menu?

A cold-storage plant filled with naked underwear
A pocketful of razors

A pecan-nut pie found on a sewage heap
A half-burned steak gone rotten with global atrocities

A fish stunned into silence

A DVD played backwards on the neck of an astrologer
A cherry farm riddled with last year’s crack cocaine
A loaf of bread rejected by a slaughtered seal
A scrambled egg fried on the remains of Lorca
A can of baked beans farting its way to the White House

A frigate of onions marked HIV-positive
A bowl of soup seasoned with sinister suspects
A lasagne sold out in the name of petty politics
A pizza topped with the succulent massacre of penguins

A half-burned steak gone rotten with global atrocities
A fish stunned into silence

(from Today is their Creator, Dye Hard Press, 2008)

Little Prajna

One day, little Prajna rolled her parents’ drum down the garden path. When the drum came to a stop, it changed into a pagoda. The fact that she was Indian and a pagoda was Japanese did not disturb Prajna; she was determined to make it her home.

When her parents came home that night, Prajna could not be found. The drum that they had forbidden her to roll had disappeared.

At the bottom of the garden was a pagoda.

(from Today is their Creator, Dye Hard Press, 2008)


He pushes the wheelbarrow
through the gardens, 7am.
he has to be rid of the
patients’ nightmares, that’s
what they pay him for
– so lay off, don’t bug him,
don’t run the poor man down.

(from Today is their Creator, Dye Hard Press, 2008)

The woman in the flat upstairs

The woman in the flat upstairs is in her bath.
She is wrestling with a crocodile.
She intended the crocodile to be her lover
But he has turned into her predator.
I can hear the bathwater running and her thrashing about
In the bath, it could be the heat of ecstasy with her lover the crocodile
But actually it is a fight for her life.
The thrashing of water and muscles becomes more audible
As I listen intently.
I do not bother to stir or raise the alarm.
I can hear her cry out like she is having an orgasm
But in fact the crocodile has grabbed her throat in his teeth
And is holding her underwater to drown her;
That’s what crocodiles do.
Once she is drowned and silent and motionless
He commences to eat her
But leaves half her body behind.

(from Bog Docks, Dye Hard Press, 2005)


I come home to find a few
strange turds
floating in the toilet.
Someone has broken into my house
to have a clandestine crap.

(from Sky Dreaming, Graffiti Kolkata, 2011)

In chains

I leap down from the building
into the fire.
The women stand
with their breasts in chains.
I can’t get to collect my curry supper.

The owl is going insane.
This is a night of anxiety.
I’m on a flying island.
I’m singing, singing, but nobody hears.
A glove is stuck in my throat.

(from Sky Dreaming, Graffiti Kolkata, 2011)


Gary Cummiskey is a South African poet and publisher living in Johannesburg. He is the editor of Dye Hard Press, which he started in 1994.

He is the author of several poetry chapbooks, including Romancing the Dead (Tearoom Books, Durban 2009), Sky Dreaming (Graffiti Kolkata, India 2011) and I Remain Indoors (Tearoom Books, Stockholm 2013).

In 2009, he published Who was Sinclair Beiles? a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. An expanded and revised edition of the book was published in 2014.

Also in 2009, Cummiskey compiled Beauty Comes Grovelling Forward, a selection of South African poetry and prose published on the US literary website, Big Bridge.

His debut collection of short fiction, Off-ramp, was published in 2013.

He is currently editor of the South African literary journal New Coin.

5 Artworks by Gary Cummiskey

3 Poems by David Groulx

After the fourth beast sang

First we ate our dogs because they understood
and then we ate our horses because
the buffalo
were gone
and then we ate grass
because the land was ours

An Apology

Windigo lived in a stone house
and dreamed of eating Indians
the feet tasted best
and then apologized to the Indians
hidden in his icy heart

Residential School Orphans

When the girls be came pregnant
the priests made the boys
dig the graves
in the darkness

They dug
placed the babies inside
the earth

The graves left

1 Poem by Wendy Gist

Passion Fog

Disintegrate external talk
into tactile trance.

No need to say
anything anymore.

Misty pull: adored gent’s
playful sentiment, analgesic.

He piques her:
amatory animal gaze, soft

smile, with a carnal ‘umm’
at the back of tongue.

Way too damn fine,
he throbs in a nebulous haze.

She craves his breath
at jugular, ear,

but capture it not
upon the teary December fog.

She can’t tell, up till now,
if he strives to bite

or kiss tender.


Wendy Gist has had her poetry and fiction featured or forthcoming in Amsterdam Quarterly, Glint Literary Journal, Gravel, Grey Sparrow Journal, Juked, New Plains Review, Oyez Review, Poetry Pacific, Soundings Review, The Fourth River, Toad Suck Review and many other fine journals. A native Arizonan, she now lives in New Mexico, where she serves as managing editor of the Red Savina Review.

3 Poems by Stefanie Bennett


Drought’s my season; red earth
The soliloquy. Even
This creek-bed’s cut its losses.

Moribund crab-apple, you recognize
My skull – your old playmate -
Gone dissonant with haze.

Churlishly, I once believed
I could douse fire up
And fan it back again

But – I am no overlord. The odd
Monsoon puts quiet to that.
Born victims, let’s not forget

Our origins. Too adroitly fate’s
Equated to obstinacy;
Deliverance grounded on hearsay.

Still, the moon’s stark full of mystery
And land’s aging evermore.
I salute us with dust, with passion

- Watch the miraging rivers run.


This motel. Room service.
She is no more than
Sixteen; has freckles,
And tells

                      Back at the farm
It’d be near-on milking time.
Back at the farm
The cock’d be
Winding down,
The sky alive,
The sun lengthening.

‘Your family?’ I ask.
Dead, she says...


Trying to walk it off
- The chaos
Of an un-natural
Human world,
The mind’s footprint
Wanders further
Than any
Straight or narrow
Nemesis –.

I felt the early
Of the sun –.
The slow sidelong
Of a wolf
       The moon
In his teeth.


Stefanie Bennett has published many books of poetry, a libretto, and a novel. Over 40 plus years she has acted as a publishing editor, tutored in The Institute of Modern Languages at James Cook University and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, May 6, 1945.