Venetian Landing Crafts: A Survey – a poem by Thomas Simmons

Venetian Landing Crafts: A Survey

That manmade debris
Those landing crafts

of ours stubbornly
sticking to the planet surface
insisting upon

their own contributions
to Venus’s winds
and turbulences

stubbornly creating tiny
vortices for the winds
to notice – a scherzo melody


Hoary Venus
Precarious Venus

frozen in place in the lava-hot winds

In the end, neither Venus
nor her belt-of-dunes nor
her flesh-of-sharp-canyons
were altogether unmoved

by them

Now their features
complemented one another;
complimented each other

The landing crafts
and their host

Hoary Venus
Boastful Venus

If one listens carefully
one can almost hear them
speak vespers together

Round manmade saucers
placed across that planet
here there and everywhere

like the boy who wanted freckles
so much he gave himself
freckles with a magic marker

and went to school proud
of his facial handiwork
here there and everywhere

Tiny pretty human constructs
speckling a created province
I think He is pleased with it


Thomas Simmons is a professor at the University of South Dakota School of Law and a lifelong South Dakotan. His scholarship focuses on trusts and estates. He teaches courses in estate planning, professional ethics, and the Holocaust. His poems have been published in, inter alia, El Portal, Corvus Review, Nebo, and North Dakota Quarterly.

Vinyasa – a poem by Susan Delaney Spear


Beyond the glass the world is white,
a frozen winter morning scape.
A chimney’s wisp of smoke floats by.
Tall trees root down to stand upright,
as branches rise and tat the sky’s
seamless achromatic cape.

Inside, each yogi breathes on cue
and gradually our breath aligns.
We bend, our heads beneath our hearts.
We stretch, our fingers reach into
the white. Breathing is an art.
Cross-legged, we bow to inner light.


Susan Delaney Spear is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Colorado Christian University where she serves as English Department Chair. She earned an MFA in Poetry with an Emphasis on Verse Forms from Western Colorado University in 2012. She is former Managing Editor of THINK, a journal of poetry, essays, and reviews. Her collection, Beyond All Bearing, was published by Wipf and Stock. Her poems have appeared in The New Criterion, The Christian Century, Academic Questions, First Things, The Anglican Theological Review and other journals.

First Law of Thermodynamics – a poem by T. S. Davis

First Law of Thermodynamics:
Neither Matter nor Energy Can Be Created or Destroyed

The Buddhists believe that we keep coming back trying to get this living thing right, which they call Samsara, a state of death and rebirth that supposedly we’re all stuck in until we do get it right and achieve what they call Nirvana, but I don’t know what to call where I am right now, whether Samsara, Nirvana, or somewhere sublime in between, as two squirrels chase each other in dense leaves of a late July oak tree, leaving a turbulent trail snaking through the canopy of green, all foreground against a canvas of cobalt and white sky, this strange wondrous world, framed by my office window, through which I watch, leading my life, or being led, or somewhere sublime in between, sitting quietly now, revisiting the memory of my birth, thanks to a jolting dose of LSD many decades ago, remembering the walls of my mother forcing me sensate with their violent pressure, sliding down a tube slick with the smell of her blood into the cradling arms of brilliant light and strange babbling robed creatures with no faces, into a confusion of tongues I fell, with no words of my own to describe the rich confection of sensation, this sudden enworldment, capable of no useful sound except the indispensable blast of a spontaneous scream from tiny gasping lungs, now, a lifetime later, I ponder the firefly I saw through this window last night blinking against the darkness of the giant oak, as if to say “I never was, now I’m here, now I’m gone again, forever,” over, and over, a brief flashing light, escaping nothingness, like me, like all of us, trying hard to revise our past, to peer clearly into the baffling blankness of our future, bewildered and flummoxed, but hoping to take with us the exquisite realness of this now, living our lives as if they mattered, waiting, to find out.


T. S. Davis is the author of Sun + Moon Rendezvous, a book of poems, and is the former producer of the Seattle Poetry Slam. He’s performed his work around the US, including Manhattan, Chicago, and Seattle. Most recent publications include poems and essays in Rattle. Mr. Davis is a retired Registered Nurse who lives in rural Arizona and writes creative nonfiction and Shakespearian sonnets.

Waterlily Pond Vignettes – a poem by Ellen Chia

Waterlily Pond Vignettes


Scented bowls of light;
Each brimming with hymms
On wings humming gratitude.


Subtly, one by one,
Like fingers counting down,
She furls each of her violet sleeves
Towards her heart.
The gloaming is hers for the keeping
Sans foraging buzz,
Sans burden of glamour and dazzle.


Green-veined plates
Served on stilts –
Catching satiny confetti
Of what remains from
A neighbouring blooming festival.
Rippling fingers now teasing plates;
A jiggly dance
Setting confetti adrift
Where tiny mouths nibble final moments.


Ellen Chia lives in Thailand and whilst pondering over the wonders and workings of her tiny universe finds herself succumbing time after time to the act of poetry making. Her works have been published and forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, Nature Writing, The Honest Ulsterman, Zingara Poetry Review, Poetry Hall, The Tiger Moth Review and Chiron Review.

Air – a poem by Sara Epstein


All that moves is the air that quivers between us
All that moves is the air that quivers between
All that moves is the air that quivers
All that moves is the air
All that moves is
All that moves
All that
All that
All that moves
All that moves is
All that moves is the air
All that moves is the air that quivers
All that moves is the air that quivers between
All that moves is the air that quivers between us


Sara Epstein is a clinical psychologist from Winchester, Massachusetts, who writes poetry and songs, especially about light and dark places. Her poems are forthcoming or appeared in Silkworm, Paradise in Limbo, Mom Egg Review, Chest Journal, Literary Mama, and two anthologies: Sacred Waters, and Coming of Age.

New Year’s Eve – a poem by Carolyn Oulton

New Year’s Eve

For a friend who died, a friend who used to love me
and a friend who taught me something about silence.

People don’t talk about death.
She’d wanted to come on that walk.
Keep changing the subject
when it’s suggested
again and again.

This is a stage
of silence, its edges
chipping where thought
breaks off and dries
scratched faint, unreadable.

The Christmas card
that gives up saying Will
be less rubbish this year
will remain unanswered.
No one will notice.

This is where words
land and break on each other,
dusty as blood. But silence
is where it will happen
if it’s to happen at all.

I covered my friend in words
I couldn’t see through.
God just whispered Ok.
Years later I saw exactly what
I’d been holding in the dark.


Carolyn Oulton has been published in magazines including Acumen,Artemis, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, from the edge, Ink Sweat & Tears,Nine Muses, Orbis, The Poetry Village,The Moth and Seventh Quarry. Her most recent collection Accidental Fruit is published by Worple Press. Her website is at

Beatitudes of January – a poem by Fredric Hildebrand

Beatitudes of January

Blessed is the staying in bed cold winter darkness.
Blessed is the booming and breaking river ice.
Blessed is the speeding street scraping snow plow.
Blessed is the punctual growl of the newspaper man’s broken muffler.
Blessed is the dutiful bark of the neighbor’s dog.
Blessed is the biting and whistling north wind.
Blessed is the scurrying roof squirrel.
Blessed is her soft and heavenly breathing.


Fredric Hildebrand is a retired physician living in Neenah, WI. His poetry has appeared in Art Ascent, Bramble, Millwork, Tigershark, and Verse-Virtual. He received the Mill Prize for Poetry Honorable Mention Award in both 2017 and 2018. When not writing or reading, he plays acoustic folk guitar and explores the Northwoods with his wife and two Labrador retrievers.

Spin Out – a poem by Patsy Kate Booth

Spin Out

Kabir said, “Friend, please tell me what I can do about this world
I hold to, and keep spinning out!”

The mystic poet curls inside the cup of lotus blossom tea.
The steam, his breath, clouds my breath.
(Persia kisses my mouth)

His bones, a mist that fogs my spectacles
In a dervish of desert mind.
(Was that me holding tight, spinning out?)

His voice, a storm of rabab strings made of sheep gut
Plucking away with eternal questions that sound like prophesy.
(Was that a riddle? Birth, old age, sickness, death?)

What can I do about this world tangled in my hair,
And its DNA woven in my heart?
(Impermanence and the endless highway, a cosmic joke)

Even Kabir spins out like a teenage boy in a hotrod
Bound by curiosity and the lute strings of love.
(Be here now, says Ram Dass)

But, what does one do with vision and desire beaded with hope
Now birthing in my teacup?
(Wake up!)

Abandon all hope! Don’t be fooled, my friend!
Kiss the eyelids of hope and watch it sink to the bottom of the cup.
(Toss out the tea leaves)

Kabir and I will ride the wind over the lands.
We will watch one another’s back and tap the shoulder of samsara.
(What can I do about this world I hold onto and keep spinning out?)




Patsy Kate Booth is a lifelong adventurer, poet and writer. Her work has been published in several anthologies, including Lummox Press, The Sandhill Review, Willow Creek Journal, A Walk Along the River, and recently prose in Why We Boat, a compilation of river stories. She is currently working on poetry and stories of her life in the upper Rio Grande of Colorado. You can visit her new blog at

ICHTHYS – an essay by Annie Blake


‘…so go down to the lake and throw in a line.
Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin.’
Matthew 17:27

Words are like a human body, meaning that they are the outer skin of one’s potential. The constitution of words wait heavily pregnant with symbol and associations if processed. Writing is the bait and subsequent interpretation is the fish biting so it can be drawn up to be eaten. It is the symbolic partaking of the body of Christ or Holy Communion or in psychic terms, an assimilation of a part of our true nature which inspires a coalescence with the sacred.

Metaphorically, a liminal writer who travails on the shore endeavors to unite the sea with the sand, that is, to scrutinize the debris which washes up in order to understand old attitudes so patterns of behavior which are no longer serving one’s needs dissolve. In other words, the shore is a resolution zone which soothes ambivalences by shifting perceptions so nascent consciousness merges with already imbibed material.

The unconscious sphere is a scaffolding of language which can be expressed and explicated if one learns that the spiritual world is not guided by Aristotelian logic but rather a multifaceted one because it is structured as a rotating, shifting and expanding plexus of associations.2 Through a controlled abaissement du niveau mental, it is possible to start lifting and sifting through layers of meaning.3 With mastery, this is substantially identical to falling asleep to spotlight one’s unconscious life-course through the dream. It should be remembered that the drawstring of this sea-like inner Self is not knotted and choked so repressed contents are free to bubble up to surface. Initially, it will appear like gold found in a trunk so heavily obscured in mud, it is almost unrecognizable.

A writer becomes more adept at breaking through the sensory and goal-focused world as they learn to trust their own intuition and value-system. Incrementally and in manageable doses, a writer will learn to climb down into a more murky and unconfined Self by dismissing the temptation to squeeze into a mold or a conventional-type container so they are more boundless, fluid and honest because to contact the sacred is to simultaneously acknowledge one’s parts which are dreaded and denied. This process should feel synonymous to trusting someone with one’s seedy and underground components without worrying about repercussions so that the dichotomy of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ can be integrated.

Allowing oneself to flow more uninhibitedly, gestates writing in its most raw, purportedly tangential and experimental form so swimming around in it begins to unhook doors to the nebulous staircases of the mind. One’s androgynous being buds into life after the feminine ‘liquid’ qualities and the more masculine attributes of ‘action and execution’ merge. Working behind the scenes of language stimulates rhizomes of meaning relationships since communicated words are impacted and motivated by one’s past experiences and ancestry and have been bent and reshaped so that at times their ingrained idiosyncratic meanings deviate from the traditional dictionary meaning.4

The mind has to be supple and malleable enough to filigree around mainstream definitions to jig-saw the more aberrant but relevant interpretations. In this way, more weight is given to the person’s reality rather than their desired ego image which in turn dances towards wholeness through a recurrent process of reconciliation and consciousness.

1. Skodo A. (Ed). Other Logics: Alternatives to Formal Logic in the History of Thought and Contemporary Philosophy. Brill, 2014
2. Blanco B. M. The Unconscious as Infinite Sets: An Essay on Bi-logic. Karnac Books, 1998
3. Mattoon M. (Ed). Personal and Archetypal Dynamics in the Analytical Relationship: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Congress for Analytical Psychology August 28-September 2, 1989. Daimon Verlag, 1991
4. Lidz T, Fleck S, Cornelison A. R. Schizophrenia and the Family, International Universities Press, 1965

Annie Blake (BTeach, GDipEd) enjoys experimenting with Blanco’s Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Logic to explore unconscious material and consciousness. Her work is best understood when interpreting them like dreams. She is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne, Australia. You can visit her on and Facebook.

Dancing the Wheel – a poem by Kim Malinowski

Dancing the Wheel

I was meek
as I picked up river stones,
deep gray, some quite large,
others quite small.
These millennia old stones,
smoothed and polished by chilled water
for thousands of years,
each one, heavy in my hand.

I danced the wheel without jade for wisdom,
without amber for strength,
no peridot for renewal.
Only my opal offered me guidance
from the edge of Raven, the coordinate of the spiritual.

I danced the wheel hesitantly
unsure of the order of the rocks,
unsure of how the others wove between me,
and I zagged between them,
the ritual smoothing like the waters over the stones.

The gray stones took formation
balance and purity
something sacred that I felt was not mine to take.

I was given the last stone, begged
for the others to tell me where to place it.
They said it didn’t matter.
But it DID matter.
All of those patterns,
one had to show me my path.

I walked in the candlelight.
placed the stone nervously into the inner ring.
The ancients were with me, circle and cross completed perfectly.

I had laid down my fear with that stone, and my shoulders light.
Each stone was placed back into the bag,
to be freed back into the river.
I bowed and thanked them
and took the power that they gave me.




Kim Malinowski earned her B.A. from West Virginia University and her M.F.A. from American University. She studies with The Writers Studio. Her chapbook Death: A Love Story was published by Flutter Press. Her work has appeared in Faerie Magazine, War, Literature, and the Arts, Mythic Delirium, and others.