Unflowering – a poem by David Hanlon


Buds know their potential
to bloom
and remain closed
dormant because of this.

The last time they blossomed,
allowed petals to unfold,
stamens to reproduce,
the world soon
withered them,

and now, inside petals
is the only haven,
the only thing to flourish,

and when someone new,
hovers nearby and gently caresses,
there is the flinch, the risk of unfurling for another,

so, buds enclose protective leaves tighter,
because they know too well
that it takes rain
as well as sunlight
to flower.


David Hanlon is from Cardiff, Wales, and currently living in Bristol, England. He has a BA in Film Studies & is training part-time as a counsellor/therapist. You can find his work online in Dirty Paws Poetry Review, Into The Void, Impossible Archetype & The Rising Phoenix Review, among others.

After Goya’s “St. Francis Borgia Helping a Dying Impenitent,” 1788 – a poem by Andrew Rihn

After Goya’s “St. Francis Borgia Helping a Dying Impenitent,” 1788

the intervention
of a human operator,
evidence, and burning coal.

synonymous with the cheap thrill,
the work of the soul, exquisite science,
unaware that the world will know who is right.

rebellion against this foul process of harvesting.
haunted cases? midnight sun?

there is a way to show everything without blood.
and yet the need, obligation of murmuring
shadows and light, interplay.

Andrew Rihn is a writer of essays, poems, and scholarly articles. He is the author of several chapbooks, including America Plops and Fizzes (sunnyoutside press) and The Rust Belt MRI (Pudding House). Along with his wife, the writer Donora A. Rihn, he co-authored the chapbooks The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: An Election Cycle (Moria Books/ Locofo Chaps) and The Day of Small Things (Really Serious Literature). Together, they live in Portage Lakes, OH with their two rescue dogs.

A Quiet Language – a poem by David Chorlton

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David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. A new book, Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird, is out from Hoot ‘n Waddle, based in Phoenix.

Altar – a poem by Jay Ramsay


It’s all very well saying this table isn’t solid,
but it is—I bump my knee against it
and the hard matter of this world
is a stone there is no breaking
a fact there is no changing
as the light shines, exposing our eyes
to what we can no longer hide—the spirit
seeks us out for this reckoning
in our post-truth illusion, as we duck and dive
thinking we are free to lie without
being held to account by something so insubstantial
that is the soul of all substance: the Most Low and the Most High,
on this altar where I lay down my life.

Jay Ramsay


Jay Ramsay, who died in December 2018,  co-founded Angels of Fire in London in 1983 with its Festivals of New Poetry, was the author of 30 + books of poetry, non-fiction, and classic Chinese translation (with Martin Palmer) including Psychic Poetry—a manifesto, The White PoemAlchemy, Crucible of Love–the alchemy of passionate relationships, Tao Te Ching, I Ching—the shamanic oracle of change, Shu Jing—the Book of History, The Poet in You (his correspondence course, since 1990), Kingdom of the Edge—Selected Poems 1980-1998, Out of Time—1998-2008, Places of Truth, Monuments, and Agistri Notebook (both 2014). In 2012 he recorded his poetry-music album, Strange Sun. In addition, he edited 6 anthologies of New Poetry—most recently Diamond Cutters—Visionary Poets in America, Britain & Oceania (with Andrew Harvey: www.tayenlane.com), as well as many collections for other poets, also under his own pamphlet imprint Chrysalis Poetry. He was also poetry editor of Caduceus magazine, working in private practice as a UKCP accredited psychotherapist and healer, and running workshops worldwide (www.jayramsay.co.uk).

AFTER THE SEVENTH DAY – a poem by Michael H. Brownstein


The eighth day, well rested, the miracle of universe complete,
the dark dung of darkness and sad light cleansed and organized.
Forgive us our moment when all prayer becomes short stories,
shell shock inability to listen to vibrations of silence,
people wading into the brakes of words–
the sharp shark shard of vowels and their choking curves,
consonants threading into a grand forest choir
each stitch a slip in the wrong direction.
Forgive us our greed and simple idiocy, our lists,
our tears in flesh and psyche, our anger, our augers,
our metal plates, forgive us for taking the deeds
holding the great desk together, forgive us the robberies
of paper and light, of organization and disbelief,
forgive us for stealing purity in psalm and purity in image,
forgive us for every nine day week after week,
forgive us for forgetting where we are, where we come from,
where we belong, forgive us the miracle of rest.


Michael H. Brownstein’s work has appeared in The Café ReviewSouth Florida Poetry Journal, American Letters & CommentarySkidrow PenthouseMeridian Anthology of Contemporary PoetryThe Pacific ReviewPoetry Super Highway and others. He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Deer in the Suburbs – a poem by Richard Green

Deer in the Suburbs

Stepping out the front door
I see a fawn standing not ten feet away,
its mother another space behind.
We freeze, the deer and I.
Startled, we regard one another
suspended in a long moment.

This is the fawn we found two days before,
curled in a nest of grass and brush
while the doe grazed unseen not far away.
We left it lie in its instinctive invisibility,
scentless, motionless to prey.

I am drawn into the fawn’s eye,
that dark infinity where life abides
with beauty, peace and innocence.
I want to know its depths, its secrets,
be one with its spirit,
feel the wildness.

The doe turns and walks away
and the spotted fawn runs behind
in its newborn rocking gait,
and we see them cross the street
and disappear behind the trees
of a neighbor’s yard.


Richard Green lives in southern New Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley. He writes about natural phenomena mostly. His poetry can be seen in The Almagre Review, Penwood Review, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, The Avocet, The Anglican Theological Review, and Twitterization Nation. His website is www.anewmexicanpoet.com.

God is Nervous Energy – a poem by George Cassidy Payne

God is Nervous Energy

God is salt water,
magnesium and calcium.

At sea level she is the
tide that causes bulges
and depressions in the
surface of oceans.

God is an aquifer.
Water soaks through
her, as do units of water:
hydrogen bonds and molecules
packed like inmates.

God is solid, liquid, and gas.

Her surface tension is more
than the force of any filter.

Solvent. Weathered. Ordered.

Floating around at room temperature.
God has a lot of nervous energy.


George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, New York (U.S.). His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, MORIA Poetry Journal, Chronogram Magazine,  Allegro Poetry Journal, Kalliope, Ampersand Literary Review, The Angle at St. John Fisher College and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in Nonviolence Magazine, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pace e Bene, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, the Havana Times, the South China Morning Post, The Buffalo News and more.

The Prey – a short story by Donna Walker-Nixon

The Prey

Dürer never saw a rhinoceros
Based on an Indian’s verbal description
He created wooden plates of body armor.

An old aggressive black rhino attacks the old man who sees his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Like the artist, he has never viewed a rhino, and he repeats, “Put on the whole breastplate of Christ’s armor, so you may be able to stand against the hoary devil’s wiles.”

A boy paid $350,000 to the Safari Club of Dallas. Once that old man could have been that boy, planning one last safari to Leopold’s Dark Continent. Now blood connect-the-dots toilet paper masks nicks on his chin.

A tiger shark once circled him when he lost his balance and fell into crystal blue waters on an Iron-Man John bonding experience he took his son white water rafting in Australia. He winced and pretended to feel no pain from the nine stitches that reattached a patch of his flapping mouth to his body.

Now he must satisfy himself through memories. His acne scars turn pink and red. Coumadin thins his blood to the texture of a bloody Mary.

He hallucinates that the dik-dik over his office toilet has come back to life. Naked he runs to the office, with its statues and heads from a life long past. He fancies himself as Ulysses when he tells Diane he will embark on one more jaunt to allusive rhino. He finds the name of the safari club in the Yellow Pages and still buck naked, he writes a check and snubs out the cunt of his unlit cigar in one of three elephantine ashtrays scattered around the office.

Once he had an executive washroom where he seduced underlings who he enchanted as he sought human prey while associates noted, “Strike another one up for wily Will.” Others fell prey to his demands. One bought a $300 cocktail dress she could not afford. Young teens in his junior high Sunday School at 1stPres also swayed to his demands.

In the inner sanctum of his home office the maid passes over moulting species of stuffed animals from Jurrassic Park II. She told other maids in other homes. For him, one day merged into the next, then the next, and finally all the nexuses he’d ever need.


The bitter pill of failure delineated his daddy’s wrinkled chin and turkey neck. He worked long hours at the cotton gin to keep the family treading polluted water. Enough is enough, he told himself, and signed up to be a campus boy at the women’s academy, where with other campus boys he lived at The Shack on the second floor of the carpenter’s shop. He unloaded coal from rail cars, milked cows, and performed duties deemed unacceptable for females.

With most of the other boys, he finished his studies at Baylor and immediately signed up for the army, where he wanted to bring back to life charred remains of Jewish prisoners. He returned from Dachau a war-weary man.

He died, alone nude in his office, tamping an unlit cigar into an elephant foot ashtray while Diane practiced advanced yoga poses. She had no use for his trophies, and for a hefty tax write-off she donated them to his university. Her only dictate: the stuffed creatures remain on display for students to view for fifteen years.

The university placed his prey willy-nilly in a musty classroom in the library, next to the copy machine Mac and Clyde used to print syllabi and other documents. Once a young assistant professor of Romantic poetry brushed against scaly patches where the dik-dik had moulted like a cat with dandruff. She paraphrased Wordworth, “The child becomes the father of the man.”

Donna Walker-Nixon founded Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature in 1997. She co-edited the Her Texas series with James Ward Lee, and she co-founded The Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas. In 2010, her novel Canaan’s Oothoon was published. And she was the editor of  Her Texas: Story, Image, Poem & Song.

For a Glimpse of the Sea – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

For a Glimpse of the Sea
Scopello, Sicily, 2018

The dish garden named Scopello basks in the sun
of everyday grace, surviving without guarantee

that its accidental pact made of rocks and succulents
and cacti, thorny and green, will claim our snowy

climate as foresight— as if there were no other
possibilities, imagining bliss in its rightful place,

with us standing on the villa’s balcony, looking
out upon the far-flung sea where we stare, and stare

at birds sailing down the terraced hillside in-
to a stand of trees that lists over the cliff’s edge

like a tenderness that never lets go.


M.J. Iuppa  is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin NY.

Propensities – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi


Inebriated our inclinations veer towards each other.
Tenderness of your palms softer than any poultice:
what are we burking? We need the outness of others
to quieten ourselves. A gum band has trussed us. We
can pull it any which way. As the world would have
us as its external face. Or, do we follow ourselves?
Army of apprehensions storm my setting. I look
for an equalizer, the dynasty of blue devils hold
their sway. As in other times I seek His assiduities.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. His poems are in venues around the world:   A Restricted View From Under The Hedge, Pantry Ink, Bonnie’s Crew, Morphrog 16, Mad Swirl, The Penwood Review, Faith Hope & Fiction, Communion Arts Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.