Communion – a poem by Christopher James


Take each offering on your tongue –
         resist the urge to bite. Copper
         dissolves first, leaves rust-coloured streaks
         across your teeth,
your gum lines; the silver cleanses
         the bloodstream, moonlight reflected
         in the basin pool it leaves; gold,
.          most precious of
metals, reveals the currency
.          of holy men, conducts wealth, heat,
.          business as usual, breaks down
.          quickly to dust.

Hands cupped, communion altar
stretched out to claim peace, wafer thin
as plastic sheets, cardboard. The night
walks past unphased.

Christopher James is an emerging poet from Birmingham. His work has previously been published in Lumpen Journal, and discusses issues of class, upbringing, and urban environments. He currently co-edits The Utopia Project, a political arts and literature magazine.

GOD’S REACH – a poem by Cynthia Cady Stanton


Sometimes I feel as if
I am in a favorite pocket of yours.
Once and a while,
you reach in and touch me –
and I am remembered again.
You may adjust me a bit,
smoothing my edges and
moving me about inside the pocket,
your touch comforting
as you bring me to new places
for my learning.
When the time is right,
you lift me up and out
and I feel the rush of freedom knitted with
the warmth of grace
as you hold me in your hand.
You look at me,
and I look at you.
And I remember again
what home feels like.
Then you place me back
into your pocket
for easy reaching later.
I am your treasure
and in your keeping –
you keep me safe from harm.
One day, I know
your lift up
and into the light
will mean I get to stay.
My vision will be clear then
and so will my reflection
of you.


Cynthia Cady Stanton is a hospice chaplain, writer, and speaker. Her inspirational blog, Becoming and Beholding, can be described as “an exploration of a personal journey of awakening.” She is currently available to provide spiritual services and counseling to those in need.

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Chakrasana – a poem by Marian Christie


My body resists.
Much easier to submit
to gravity, turn my back
on air and space and light
fold towards earth
yield to its dark warmth –

to let the weight of my bones draw me downwards
to wear my shoulder blades as a shield.

I am afraid
to unzip my breastbone
unmute my heart’s song
trust my body to escape
earth’s pull as though I could
expand into the universe.

Teach me, earth, how I may use your energy
to arc the rainbow’s wheel, surrender my heart to the sky.

Note: Chakrasana – the Wheel Pose – is a back-bending yoga posture.


Marian Christie was born in Zimbabwe and has lived in Africa, Europe and the Middle East before settling in her current home in southeast England. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of journals, including Allegro Poetry,Amethyst Review, The Beach Hut, Black Bough Poetry and The Ekphrastic Review, and in the anthologies The Stony Thursday Book 2018 and The Bridges 2020 Poetry Anthology.

When not writing or reading poetry, she looks at the stars, puzzles over the laws of physics, listens to birdsong and crochets gifts for her grandchildren. She blogs at and can be found on Twitter:


SURREALIST MUSE – a poem by Anne Whitehouse


The sense of a vessel is not in its shell, but in its void.
-Dag Hammarskjold

Loplop imagined a beguiling woman-child
whose purpose was to inspire him,
not to understand him.
She was meant to be his destiny,
sparking his creativity, leading him to visions,
a mirror in which he saw himself.

“Who is the Bride of the Wind?” he sang.
“She cannot read or write without mistakes,
but she warms herself with her intense love,
her mystery, her poetry.”

They shared a belief that art is alchemy.
Loplop was a blue-eyed bird
with fierce talons and soft feathers,
and Leonora was a white horse
with a mane of long hair
and the power of flight.

He made her the instrument of his passion,
and she loved him for it anyway.
In an old stone house near a river
of deep gorges and limestone cliffs,
and stones polished to a high gloss
by the river’s rough bottom,
he nourished her painting and poetry.

The mythic and occult
Leonora had sought since childhood
came to dwell with them
for a year of days filled with light
falling through the open shutters
of the tall windows of the studio
where she painted mysterious images
with enigmatic meanings
and cooked exotic dishes in a rustic kitchen,
and he decorated house and garden
with sculptures of mythical creatures.

“For two years I’ve been madly in love.
I’m painting only to keep from going crazy.
I want him to live only for me.
I wish that he had no past.
I want us to be in the same body.
Absolute love, I want him forever.”

This was in Saint-Martin-d’Ardeche,
in the south of France before the war,
before he was imprisoned as an enemy alien,
and she was left alone with their five cats
in the house she now called “The House of Fear:”

“Without you, I am losing my sense of life,
of everything I owe to knowing you.
In despair, I bite my fingers violently;
my body has changed into an animal.”

His release at Christmas was a reprieve.
In the new year he painted her portrait
in the dawn light of a tropical landscape.
In May he was denounced and arrested again,
and sent to a prison farther away.
Coerced into giving away the house,
she fled with friends, leaving their creations
and possessions behind.

She struggled to find a way forward.
The car jammed, and she was jammed.
The road of escape was lined with death.
She felt herself absorbing the world’s ills,
her consciousness leaking from her body.
Craving deliverance, she was betrayed
and abandoned by everyone
from whom she sought protection.

Abducted in Madrid, raped, and stripped
of her clothes and identification papers,
she left body and soul behind,
escaping into the shamanic visions
of an alchemist with the fantastic touch
of a fairy tale wizard,
invoking images and enigmas
with no solution in reason,
like the erotic dream-worlds
conjured in ceremonies
of ancient feminine cults.

“I tried to empty myself of the images
that had made me blind.
Armed with madness for a long voyage,
I wandered into the unknown
with the abandon and courage of ignorance.”

Confined to a mental institution
in the north of Spain,
shackled naked to a bed,
her skin ravaged by mosquitoes,
lying in feces, sweat, and urine,
treated with drugs that gave her convulsions,
she was plunged into the depths.

“At the bottom of the well
was the stopping of my mind
for all eternity in utter anguish.
I entered a state of prostration,
and when I awoke, I regained my lucidity.
The next day I met a small man
with a gray face who told me,
‘Power over animals is a natural thing
in a person as sensitive as you are.’”

Loplop once said, “To create the fantastic,
you must use the banal.”

Through luck, chance, and cunning,
she managed a series of escapes.
After a year apart and an anguished search,
he located her in Lisbon.

She was living under the protection
of the Mexican ambassador,
who offered her a way out of Europe,
the war, and the long reach
of her oppressive family,
who intended to commit her
to an asylum in South Africa.

Loplop, too, had found a sponsor,
an American heiress with an art collection,
who’d fallen in love with the artist
as well as the art.

If only Leonora had stayed in Saint-Martin,
he might not have lost her
or the house on the cliffs.
Thanks to the French wife he’d abandoned,
he was released soon after Leonora fled.
It was a shock when he returned
to find her missing and her cryptic note,
the house and their belongings
swindled by the innkeeper
he’d thought was their friend.

One moonless night
he broke into the house
and fled with their paintings
by canoe across the river.
The paintings were with him
the next spring when
he found her in Lisbon.

The longed-for reunion was a fiasco.
“Once again my life is a mess,”
he wrote their best friend, Leonor.
“I have found (and lost) Leonora.
She has been crushed, and there is only
an occasional glimpse of her old spirit.”

Yet, just a few days later, he wrote again,
“Everything has changed.
Leonora’s horrors have ended.
She has become beautiful, vibrant;
it’s a miracle.”

Through their marriages of convenience,
they both moved to New York,
where he would have left the heiress
for her in a heartbeat, but she refused.
“I was not the same person after Madrid.
There was no way for me to go back.”

He gave her his portrait of her
painted in the halcyon months
between his imprisonments,
when he should have made plans to leave,
but persisted instead in a dreamlike bubble,
pretending they could shut out the world,
that led them to disaster.

She gave him the early self-portrait
that had come with her from London
to Paris in the early days of their love,
and he had rescued from the house on the cliff.
In riding clothes and high heels,
she sits in a chair under a rocking horse,
with her mane of dark hair,
as she wards off an evil-eyed hyena
with the sign of the horn, and outside
the window is a fleeing white horse.

She also gave him the portrait
she had made of him as Bird Superior
wearing a pelt of rose-colored feathers
that ends in a forked tail
like the tail of his Maremaid.

Inside the lantern he holds in his delicate hand
shines the image of a white horse.
The white horse that soared across the lawn
is now an eyeless ice sculpture,
frozen to the ground.

One night while she lay sleeping,
he painted over one of her canvases,
then convinced her the next morning
that the painting never existed.
It amused him to play mind-games with her.
She was the youngest of their group,
wearing long skirts and lacy blouses
bought for her in thrift shops.
She went along with their wishes,
until she no longer recognized who she was.

Yet she was “magnificent in her refusals,”
said Breton the patriarch, czar of Surrealism.
She said “No” to Man Ray taking her picture,
“No” to Miró’s request to buy him cigarettes,
“No” to Loplop’s last entreaties of love.
She said “No” to the lot of them,
asking her for this or that,
just as she’d said to her father,
“No, I will not be who you want me to be,
or marry who you want,”
and he’d replied,
“You will not darken my doorstep again.”

She might paint her feet with mustard,
snip human hair into an omelet,
shower fully clothed and come out dripping
to sit down among the others,
invite random guests to dinner
from a phonebook. With women friends,
she practiced the occult as culinary art.
The kitchen was her seat of power.

What saved her was her sensitivity
to the natural world, seen and unseen.
“I could draw near animals
where other human beings
put them to precipitate flight.”

After a year and a half in New York,
she left on a road trip for Mexico
with her ambassador husband
and never saw Loplop again.
Rarely did she speak of him,
but she kept his portrait of her
in her bedroom until the day she died.

Their marriages of convenience soon ended.
Leonora and Loplop found new loves
that lasted the rest of their lives. Dorothea
was an art student from Illinois
when she met Loplop in New York,
and he left the heiress for good to live
with her in Arizona in a house of their art.

Chiki was Leonora’s fellow refugee,
a Hungarian-Jewish photographer
who saved thousands of images
from the Spanish Civil War by entrusting
the negatives to a Mexican diplomat
who took them home to his country,
where they were forgotten for fifty years
and then found in his battered leather suitcase.

Chiki and Leonora shared a war-torn past
that found safe haven in Mexico,
where they made a home, raised two sons,
and practiced their arts. Tender and gentle,
Chiki was Leonora’s ally in occult explorations.
Allthough she occasionally visited France,
she never went back to the house on the cliff.

In Mexico she found her spiritual country.
Mystery, darkness, witchcraft—the deep worlds
that she’d always sensed were hidden
existed in plain view under the blazing sun,
amid exotic animals and luxuriant foliage.
Her art responded in a shimmer of secrets,
rendered in translucent egg tempera
she produced in her kitchen.

She wasn’t anyone’s plaything anymore.
Bitter experience had taught her
how to protect herself. Once, hoping
to seduce her, the filmmaker Buñuel
locked her in his bathroom.
She decorated the walls with handprints
of her menstrual blood.

She claimed a legacy of ancient knowledge,
passed on through generations of women.
She could bring on illness or exorcise it,
provoke dreams in others as their spiritual guide.
A Zen master said of her at fifty,
“She doesn’t know any koans,
but she has resolved them all.”

Her paintings reveal the mysterious beings
that hover close in childhood,
creatures that scurry up and down the spine,
through a net of nerves,
holding torches that cast flickering shadows
into forgotten spaces, through the thin veils
separating this world from the next.

In old age she asserted her right to be a crone:
“Art is not hereditary. It comes from somewhere else.
If you try to intellectualize it,
you are wasting your time.
You understand through your feelings.
Canvas is an empty space,
and what we see as space changes all the time.
A transparent egg that emits rays
like the great constellations is a body,
but it is also a box.”


Anne Whitehouse is the author of six poetry collections Meteor Shower (2016) is her second collection from Dos Madres Press, following The Refrain in 2012. She is the author of a novel, Fall Love, as well as short stories, essays, features, and reviews. She was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and lives in New York City. You can listen to her lecture, “Longfellow, Poe, and the Little Longfellow War” here.

bluejay bolero – a poem by Emalisa Rose

bluejay bolero

somewhere ’round seven you
come a calling strutting your
pipes and your tribal band
blues..a song at the sill and
the green tea is brewing…but
soon you will sojourn through
seventeen cities…you’ll hobnob
with dignitaries, flash dance in
philly even merengue in mexico
as you pivot on ports i can only
poem dreams upon

but for now, you are mine sweet
passerine, perched at the patio
starting my day with your song of

Emalisa Rose is a poet, dollmaker, animal rescue volunteer. She has workedin Special Education and hospice.  Living by a shore town has provided the inspiration that fuels her artwork.  She has had her work in Parrot Poetry, B Street and Arrow Journal.

Flush with Joy – a poem by Melissa Chappell

Flush with Joy
after “Like the Magic Glow of a Paradise,” by Clementina Suarez

I have come forth with the young light,
breaking over the waters of the Enoree,
a child of the Daystar.
My poor clay body,
dug from the river,
suddenly the roundness
of flesh.
Eyes are pieces of stained glass,
shattered into a thousand shards
when I was made.
Behold beauty, I tell them.
A throat that sings arias
in crimson, emerald, amber.
Hands that can grasp;
I reach for the Holy One
and pluck a muscadine
from its vagrant vine.
A woman am I,
with hips from which
flow the world,
powerful and ready
for the shattering collide
with the one not yet found.
Legs, ready for the walking,
feet, for the stony road,
to keep moving beyond myself
into the dust of the garden,
where I return again and again—
and again and again
I am raised,
until finally I am broken by my Maker,
and scattered as nourishment for the birds of song.
Rising on wing, I slip earthly bonds into the silvering air,
into the antediluvian, colorless ether, where, flush with joy,
I touch the shimmering face of my Beloved.


Melissa Chappell is an author living in rural South Carolina on land passed down through her family for over 120 years. She loves to walk in the woods, and being musically inclined, plays an 8 course Renaissance lute. She shares her life with her family and two miniature schnauzers.

Rosie Garcia – a poem by Carl Mayfield

Rosie Garcia

Too short for most Disney rides,
north of 70, no family,
she smiled when her diagnosis
was passed across the desk,
opting for palliative care.
A recovering Catholic for years,
the final cure had arrived.

She wanted to know why I wasn’t
having more fun when I stopped by
the following week, spreading her hands
as though to say: things happen.
We watched a football game on TV,
with Rosie encouraging both sides.

Time nibbled.

When I came by to say good-bye
she squeezed my hand,
whispering: less grim, mister.
A week later death
borrowed her name.
Left her body to science,
her spirit to this world.


Carl Mayfield began his career as a human being way back in the annals of one-step-at-a-time. Recent work can be found in Abbey, Plum Tree Tavern, Wales Haiku Journal, Skidrow Penthouse.

Listening for Updates – a poem by Diana Durham

Listening for Updates

the white horse is half a hillside
tall, emblazoned on the grooved green
upland flank like a white tattoo

rooks fidget and caw, stirring the heights
with faint voices, their nests like tiny
clouds caught in the high March aspens

behind the stilled concrete factory’s
eight-pack the dutiful two-tone chime
of a train echoes like memory

no trails in the blue, only the rooks
flying circuits round the willow copse,
a distance on three generations

radio blaring, practice their strokes
listen for updates—troubling with
indistinct waves the valley flat.

White Horse Country Park, Wiltshire
March 2020 at the start of lockdown


Diana Durham is the author of three poetry collections: Sea of Glass, To the End of the Night and Between Two Worlds; the novel The Curve of the Land and two nonfiction books: The Return of King Arthur and, most recently, Coherent Self, Coherent World: a new synthesis of Myth, Metaphysics & Bohm’s Implicate Order.

Ocean of Light – a poem by Vishwam Heckert

Ocean of Light

I think we must be
sea creatures
in a way.

But ours
is an ocean of Light.

The physicists tell us
everything we see
is made of Light.

All matter is energy

All matter is Light
in another form.

You and I,
we are swimming

in luminous bodies
in an ocean of Light

able to sense
in so many

that we easily forget
what we are perceiving
and what we are

is all the same
in a way.


Vishwam Heckert is a Heart Of Living Yoga Teacher & Trainer, a former academic, and a gentle revolutionary mystic. His joy is helping others (and himself) to relax and discover peace. He currently Matlock, Derbyshire, with his partner and their garden. http:/

Four-Corner Travel – a poem by Margaret Marcum

Four-Corner Travel

What is possible is
for you. Like the sound from a
flame on a wick which never fades:

See. There is a chair in a room with
many windows. There is a window in
a chair with many rooms. A waiting tomb
where the doctor is not quite in.

She was gone in the place where
the sun had shone the whole time.
Four horses ride by the window,
her hair streaming with Sunday’s
sunny rays. She sings her warning
in a tongue riddled with progression

for a new land draped in disappearance
far beyond the dreamscape of modern order

& what comes—astonishing


Margaret Marcum is currently a student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. She graduated with a B.A. and her literary interests include animal rights, healing the collective through personal narrative, vegan studies, and ecofeminism. Her poems previously appeared in Literary Veganism and Children, Churches, and Daddies.