Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

days of rain glide
under our bridges
pluvial acolytes and
disciples of rivers
an older us whome
wonder embraces

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues), homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane Press, and online at bear creek haiku poetry, poems and info.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Poem by Sydney Peck


I rise from bed and open the window
Stars of Cassiopeia and small aurora are still visible
Venus hangs like a lantern in the eastern firmament
Goddess unmistakably beautiful and strong
Dominating the dark velvet void
Dawn is a yet unborn child following the black drama of night

In the uncertain hour before dawn
In the twilight zone of heaven's half-light
Dawn seems fragile and may never succeed -- still
A young half-awake day is turning back the dim
Dark cloths of night in a timorous start
As I light my flickering candle

Candle shadows on my wall:  myth and reality changing constantly.
As the pressing sun rounds the curve of the horizon,
The vault turns to dappled lighter shades of pastel.
I finish shaving and wash away the soap and the sleep
Steady air not yet heated and land is black
Ever-changing, embroidered
With golden and silver light across the azure blue

As I put on coat and step out into the day
The sun peers cautiously at me over the whitewashed wall.
Out of the blue, dabs of sun tip the mountain peaks and spread down
The warmth starts to drive away small clouds
Lit underneath with their glowing gold edges.
The empty empyrean floods with gold, becomes alive and certain.

Sydney Peck has been a school teacher for thirty years, teaching English in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Russia.  He spends his spare time playing musical instruments (mostly fold music) and writing poetry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Two Poems by Barbara Gurney


I sink beneath the waves
Disregard thoughts of survival

Air-filled bubbles ooze from me
Each reaching for the blue of the sky
Where clouds drift
Like me

The caress of the sea
Scolds me with cold
Embraces, then threatens
Touches my thoughts of oblivion

Inevitability seeps into each pore
Gently accepting without question
This watery grave
Tosses aside consequences
It lets me be

I claim this moments
To stay beyond reality
Possess solitude
A moment of liberty

The sun shivers across the surface
Peeks through the azure
Smiles without assurances
Promises a tomorrow

I surface and gasp at life


Cruel winds fling everything from its path
Shattered houses sprinkled across the landscape
   like condiments
Possessions sink into mud

Grief not yet claimed
Shock still hovering
   waiting to land

A huddle of children cling under a sheet of tin
A flapping tent
    a luxury

And when the typhoon stops . . .
    heartbreak stays

         Malaysian typhoon - November 2013

Barbara Gurney is based in a southern suburb of Perth, Western Australia.  She writes across several genres including fiction for adults and children, and free verse poetry.  Although an optimistic person, Barbara's poetry often explores the mournful side of life.  Her unpredictable thought processes are an advantage when creating short stories.  Barbara's novel Road to Hanging Rock was released in November 2013.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Poem by Dawnell Harrison

Blue-Brazen Turquoise Sky

There's a creaking of wood planks
near the water in this small

Idaho city under a blue-brazen
turquoise sky.

The little flames of perky
red tulips burn in circles and

seduce me with their bloodied lips.
The sweet yellow tulips hush

all that is noisy --
trains full speed ahead

with their line of breath
and hot metal bearing
down on the tracks.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 200 magazines and journals including, Queen's Quarterly, The Fowl Feathered Review, Danse Macabre, Mobius and many others.  Also she has had 5 books published entitled, Voyager, The maverick posse, The fire behind my eyes, The love death, and The color red does not sleep.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Poem by Theresa A. Cancro

Tree Grief

I pass a fallen
oak on the path.

Into its hollow core I fit
my stripped heart, slip in,
lying on my side, I peer out

a knot hole, tannin tips
my eyelashes, myopic
tangled branches snag

what's left of my coat-
lining, chewed, spit out
by careless larval forms.

In my mouth, the worm-
wood taints my lips.

Theresa A. Cancro writes poetry and short fiction.  Her work has been published in many online and print journals, including The Artistic Muse, Kumquat Poetry, Birds by My Window, The Rainbow Journal, Lost Paper, A Handful of Stones, Cattails, Chrysanthemum, Shamrock Haiku Journal, and Presence, among others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Three Poems by David Chorlton

Leaving Portal

The road slides from under snow
and away toward the frozen grasslands
lying pale against clouds
that have settled between the Peloncillos
and the Chiricahuas, barely higher
than the telegraph poles
from which hawks watch the stillness
before they thaw their wings and fly
into the day's breath with talons
sharpened by the cold.

New Year's Morning

A narrow road cuts
left and right between

the frosted trees
before tracks

have been made in the snow
that fell in the night,

and disappears
where an oak steps forward

with a whisper
at the tip of each branch.

A Study of Starlings

Holding to slender branches
that sway against the dark day's clouds

three hundred starlings wait
a second before they rise together
in the rain, as do

three hundred more
in the adjacent tree, and all combine

with grace, following
a common purpose.  Palm

to palm, they broaden and narrow
as they come down to take the hanging fruit
and then return

to the ominous light
as one mind in many hundred pieces.

David Chorlton is a frequent visitor to the Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona, and observer of birds in and around the city of Phoenix.  One of his poems appears in the anthology, BIRDS, from the British Museum and is available this year in paperback.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Three Poems by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick


As a silhouette in concert
with the blue above, starlings
swarm, swoop, dive

A dark flock forming
patterns in movement
a shadow that shapes
and heralds dusk
called the black-sun
called murmurations

These birds
speak like parrots
whistle like car alarm
click, rattle, and sigh

Called the fool
called the jester
originate reverb

In 1890 at Central Park
common starling are released
to celebrate its appearance
in plays of Shakespeare

These birds thrive to over
a hundred million fold
and make their way
to the West Coast
where I see them now

Three of them, perched on wire
had I always mistaken them
for crows in the distance

Is this what the red-shouldered hawk
is after as it circles, did I pray for this
for something like passenger pigeons
to blot out the sun, to sing of
to reorchestrate the stratosphere

To be full again of sounds
murmurs so like cowbird, magpie
gradation of blackbird, raven, crow
the click and rattle, gibberish

Remixed, oh! to dance
at the starlings' eclipse
that scatters the light
as an inversed disco ball

Adelpha californica

the wetted wings
make dank and dizzy
circles, tampered loops
weighted down

orange and bespeckled
in stalled motions
bullied in the breeze

a final gust carries
brown matted velvet
flap across the lake
at the mercy of the wind

adrift sky plankton
swallowed whole
in the whale blue
mouth, disappears


I dye my hair red; shades of copper, brass, amber
in the hopes that a hummingbird will mistake my braids
twisted and pinned, for the plastic flowers of hummingbird feeder
the profile of my exposed neck, for the clear glass jar
of sugared water; evoke tropical punch, nectar rush

That those tiny birds might possibly dart
half a millimeter closer, in confusion might pause
in a double take long enough in front of me
that I might, in real time see the details of this speck
of a bird, actual spectacle, small vibrant

Not in photo, not from afar
not faster than comprehension
instead, as magic pulled from
the sky

I would go so far as to weave my hair into a nest
with twig and olive branch, sit in stillness like a stoic
trying to coax them into laying their pearly little eggs
above my left ear, let them perch on the rim of my glasses
if I was not so scared of crushing them in my sleep

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a poet, a bookbinder, and an artist from Long Beach, CA.  As a child she lived in Spain where she fell in love with green olives, the smell of fresh bread, and learned to speak Spanish.  At UCSC she received a B.A. in Literature/Creative Writing-Poetry.  Kelsey participated in Write Bloody Publishing's Dirty Dozen Workshop and she is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee (Cadence Collective).  Her poems can be found at, in A Poet is a Poet, No Matter How Tall:  EPISODE II Attack of the Poems, and in Poems by Sunday.  Kelsey's recently published chapbook, Watches Synchronized to Awestruck, is hand-bound by the poet and available at Gatsby Books.  Her next collection is due out in 2015 by Sadie Girl Press.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Dead Grey Wolf Skins

Dead grey wolf skins hang
on white clotheslines across Baraboo, Wisconsin
the dark surface, dirty old shack, side of the moon,
that only exists in memories hung high, long before.
Hunters in the past did their job well,
sold skins, collected a few bucks,
increased deer for hunting, saved cattle,
decreased fear, told tales, short stories, adventures.

The grey wolf face now emergent,
opens his mouth wide in the safety
open in blue sky.
Shows his white teeth against
background of black sky, shadow,
hears thunder again, releases
fireflies at night, monarch butterflies
during the day, guts down pine tree spikes.
He walks once again over landscapes of turquoises.
He consumes dirt road dust, tracks trails, 114.4 miles from Milwaukee to Baraboo.
His keen eyes are sharp for growth of skyscraper, Pabst brewery building.
Traveling side roads over many years brings him to the present.
No more violators, hunters with guns, fake Jesus people
slender in His bathrobe Christ repeats two fishes, 5 loaves and the wolf survives.

Aldo Leopold feeding inmate in small jail cells only kills a few wolves for research.
Aldo a Saint of conservation a consumer of cigarettes and butts,
hear wings of doves attached, broken, stroke fire, a neighbor field
heart stroke drops into history.

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

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Poem by Marianne Szlyk

Driftwood on Tybee Island

     -- after an image by Mary Judkins

Colorful and rough,
driftwood on Tybee Island
claims the photographer's gaze.
The branch's yellows and browns
echo the dogs racing on this beach,
frolicking in summer waves.
The sand is blue, white, and yellow,
sticky and sweet, clinging
to the feet of tourists and locals alike.

The warmth of the fierce surf
blesses rather than braces
bathers and waders,
humans and canines.
It even blesses the driftwood
before it burns away
all the colors and textures
that the photograph preserves.

Marianne Szlyk recently published her first chapbook, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, at Kind of a Hurricane Press:  Her poem "Walking Past Me. Calvary Cemetery in Winter" has been nominated for the 2014 Best of the Net.  Individual poems have appeared in print and online, most recently in Poppy Road Review, bird's thumb, The Flutter Journal, Of/with, Walking is Still Honest, and Literature Today as well as Kind of a Hurricane Press's anthologies., most recently Switch (The Difference).  She edits a poetry blog-zine at and hopes that you will consider submitting a poem there or voting in one of its contests.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Two Poems by Syd Peck

Saturn -- God's Favorite
This  floating sovereign rules her black see *
Like an Inquisition bishop  -  perfect : accepting   
No argument,  no competition,
Watching me watching her in adoration,
Her cold unblinking gaze
Reigning the black and silent sky.
Saturn, Goddess of bountiful harvests, of you alone
Unreachable, O favorite of the Lord, in brilliant isolation,
Of ice-cold  beauty pristine,
Is it said * that God doesn’t play dice,
But His spinning gyroscope globe  -
God’s spinning top  -  His best of toys.
O bisque queen, gem with halo rings,
Like a dove with wings wide-spread,
Hover like the Holy Spirit, float on the inky blackness,
Send me a message to fill my void.
Long in the ether your far-light lingers
Before it is allowed to reach my eye;
O Majesty remote cold and glorious,
Send me the vision of heavenly beauty bountiful.
*   A   "see"  is the territory ruled by a bishop
*   The saying  “God does not play dice”  is accredited to Albert Einstein,
when explaining the workings of the universe

Thaw at Crowsnest Pass 
Huge mountains massed and  cliffs  sheer.  It’s  March
And endless  blue  sky  cold is held back by the Chinook,
Snowy prairies rolling into their  thousand-mile empire  - 
The landscape  is gigantic, majestic, orchestrated to overwhelm.
But I stand and watch the lake-ice thaw,
Surprised by the tiny delicate music  -
Descant  ice -  jingling,  jangling,  tinkling
In delicate accompaniment  to the giant symphony.                                      
Ice chunks tangled in slow waves with the wind
Tiny  tintinnabulation before total ablation.
There is silence  and  harmony  around the sound,
The small melody of the ice breaking  into spring’s  chorus
 Crowsnest Pass is the southernmost way through the Rocky Mountains in Canada
Syd Peck is a schoolteacher at high  school level for twenty Ireland, UK, Canada, Russia. Keen musician.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

The Anole

snuggled closer to the security lamp,
wrapping itself around generated false
heat.  The night was damp, hazy,
and the tiny creature’s color had paled to match
bulb’s sallow glow.  A distant door slammed,
sent it scattering.  I watched the borrowed translucence
of exquisite ghostly version of itself fade
back into something more appropriately pedestrian,
a muddled brown, to scamper across the mud.

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Shadows moved in, lay claim
to gleam of lake. The perfect white
of trees, clouded gray to calm
the skyline.  Crystals
are sent skipping like glittering stones
out among another
bottomless night.

A Frog Croaked

needlessly on my shoe, a victim
of fear-induced self-murder.  Three
days earlier, it frantically leapt
into the garage, attempting to escape
the puppy sent scampering behind
my legs.  I was not quick
enough to block the mistaken path.
Disoriented, it hid behind levels
of totes, mountainous blue building
blocks of false security.  I knew it would
not survive the suffocating heat,
windowless Floridian summer.  Confined
and confused it did not show
itself for me to help.  I found it
belly up at 5 a.m., inches from the closed
door.  Upended, I assume, by the last-
minute mad attempt for
freedom.  Failed, valiantly.
I buried the tiny body next to a hibiscus
bloom, an appropriate resting spot.
I thought.

A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is not available from Eldritch Press.  She has two more poetry collections forthcoming:  A Few Bullets Short of Home, from mgv2>publishing and Degeneration, from Pink. Girl. Ink.  She is a Multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2100 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.