Saturday, December 3, 2016

Change to Submission Wait Times

Dear Poets & Readers,

I've changed the submission wait time:

Instead of waiting one month to submit poems again after a poem of yours was published, you can submit more poems or fiction, two weeks later.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Response by Martin Willitts Jr.

The answer is not worth hearing;
it burns like release. 
Crows devour the response
and then strike out, darkness scattering
as feathers of rain.
And yes, this life can mean even less. It can be mean.
It can bring intangible darkness and blankness.
Eventually, some of us might emerge renewed, and
yes, again yes, after night comes down,
we will face it with trepidation or awe, knowing 
we are not alone in all of this after all.

Martin Willitts Jr forthcoming poetry books include “Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed” (FutureCycle Press, 2017), “Nasturtiums in Snow Understand Green Is Coming” (Foothills Press, 2017), “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Editions, 2017), “Martin Willitts Jr Greatest Hits” (Kattywompus Press), and Turtle Island Editor’s Choice Award for his chapbook, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press).

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chaplet #6 - Inexplicable by Michael Keshigian

Michael Keshigian



Publication, print and electronic, where some poems from Inexplicable have appeared. These Include: 

Black Poppy Review 
Blue Pepper 
California Quarterly 
Illya’s Honey 
Poppy Road Review 
Red River Review 
Tipton Poetry Journal


Present Comfort 
Home Again 
Primordial Night 
The Beckoning 
That Other Place 
Upon The Lakeside Porch 
The Ghost Moon


He stands in the open doorway,
a brisk breeze caresses his face.
There is a shadow cast
from a dried maple branch
of straight lines
dyed black upon the lawn
that resembles a stick man,
an apparition that points up
as if to designate its source.
He imagines himself the outline
penciled atop the green,
where the grass is cool and moist
as it brushes his skin, where migrant ants
and earthworms tickle his underside
when they course beneath.
The landscape is quiet otherwise.
He is content. Vagrant clouds, like the years,
move rapidly over him,
close enough to the sun
to threaten and momentarily
dissipate his imprint.
There is nothing he might do
to stem the inevitable,
but to distract himself
with the magic about,
for the future is black, the present, light,
though it will yield no notice
when it dissolves him.


Abandoned house, are there
only spiders and rodents
residing amid your rooms?
I see my distorted image
upon the fogged glass
of the old storm door,
and feel like a prowler,
appraising the value of items
upon your walls
or tucked in your corners,
when, in truth, I seek
to rekindle precious memories
and reconstruct pictures
the recent days
have begun to obscure,
events the rain of years
are washing away,
trickling indiscernibly
through the pitted window
of my mind’s eye
as I rap my fist
against the glass,
hoping the ghosts will answer.


Startled by the intense breath of wind,
the windows rattled as did
the supportive beams and joints,
creaks and moans that instigated angst.
The maples and oaks raised havoc,
swaying manically,
dropping bits of limbs and leaves,
evoking sounds of mayhem
that flustered his psyche
with ingredients to spawn past ghosts
that invaded and tormented his slumber.
Finally, with one eye open,
he noticed the three-quarter moon
winking upon the horizon
between menacing clouds,
casting an ashen light
which squatted upon his comforter,
its morbid gaze straddled his stilled torso.
This night, he concluded,
folded beneath his blankets,
was filled with dread,
and he, all alone,
became aware and afraid,
held hostage by moonlight
that highlighted primitive sounds,
inciting shivers through tensed muscles
and shaking extremities,
as he lay with eyes open wide,
attempting to coax daylight from the dark.


He stands beside the window
and stares at a feathery cloud
in the shape of a beautiful woman,
the wind’s sighs
become warm breaths upon his neck,
He bleeds through the glass
like a forlorn ghost
and drifts upward for companionship,
glancing downward, noticing
the neighbors’ yards are empty,
drenched in abundant sunshine,
as he, at this moment,
floats radiant and satisfied.
He soars, her vaporous arms await,
there is little he can do.
He has traversed into a fantasy
that extracted him
from a deep melancholy,
salvation without warning,
triggered to diminish
the angst of loneliness.


Upon a summer’s eve when the lawn
was not yet drenched with dew
and still radiant from the day’s warmth,
when the tips of white pines
rose skyward like long fingers
to tickle the underside of stars
as the evening air vibrated
to a cricket ostinato, he laid atop the grass,
arms and legs extended,
and marveled at the infinite distance
above him with its clustered collection
of variously illuminated rocks and stones,
wondering what will become of him
once his time in this dimension ended,
where he might find himself,
what form he might take, and in fact,
would he be aware to bear witness.
His thoughts transcended
and for an instant he became one
with the mass about him and believed he heard
his name whispered in the harmony about,
a single concordant breath, faint and distant,
like a dried autumn leaf
brushed by a wandering snowflake
as though it belonged,
not to him or his parents
who endowed it upon him,
nor to this place on earth, but to the vast emptiness
and unanswered question from which we all appeared,
to which we shall all return.


Awake in bed,
he hears it stir,
God’s breath while He sleeps,
a gentle breeze
from His nostrils
to yield us life.
It is death’s howl,
a bellow from below,
roaring above the eaves
to hasten the march of time
as well as the whimsical laugh of Earth,
raising the blue layer of ocean garments
to reveal white crinoline
beneath shapely crests
where arrowhead wrinkles
between each wave
point toward the horizon’s quiver.
It bursts forth warnings
at our digressions,
though in resignation adds humidity
to wash away the stale taste
our behavior occasionally emits.


He walks through
the gray shadows of dusk,
shadows not dark enough
for sightlessness
nor clear enough for recognition,
yet he construes,
upon the hazy horizon
of delineated mountain peaks,
the outline of a human form oscillating,
a form unfamiliar
in a dimension unknown
where light slashes invading clouds
to bits of confetti
then spreads like a veil
upon the indistinguishable terrain
in a place beyond
which comes, as it has before,
to those who will eventually travel,
a place, at times, that is reflected
in our dreams
where anguish vanishes,
where the living cannot visit.


Upon the porch lakeside,
he faced the blank, midnight stillness of water,
no stars were to be seen, no horizon lights,
no moon dissecting the wet surface,
only a darkness which camouflaged his hand
in front of his face.
He stared into the emptiness
to memorize the sensation
into which he will one day be delivered,
closing his eyes and relinquishing himself
to the feeble, dark breath of wind
to perhaps perceive
a precursor of the inevitable,
lurking closer day by day.

Fish swim without question
beneath the surface of the lake,
surrounding mountains
continue to adorn the seasons’ trends,
but his desire was to determine
why he became a stranger to himself,
quizzically imagining an event
that would be his vanishing,
akin to snowflakes falling, or just one flake,
layered upon others to eventually melt away.
There is much he might contemplate,
yet hardly determine,
staring into this feigned abyss,
a play regarding the unknown,
actors in undefined roles,
in a script written with no characters in mind.


The whitish blue fa├žade of the country sky
towers over him like an unpainted canvas
as the distant song of cardinals
indiscriminately blotch
red patches against the sky.
His eyes are open as he stares up
from the wetted, verdant growth
that dampens his back,
watching the sun nip and tuck,
like a ping-pong ball,
behind the accumulating cumulus giants.
The tall white pines are just beginning
to awaken, shaking fog
from their fir tops
still lost in sleep.
It is morning, atop the grass
he feels content, imagining perhaps,
that death might be like this.
A beam of sunlight bites his flesh,
the heat envelopes
his naked arms and legs.
He drifts and sweats,
thinking about the day when the sun
no longer highlights his presence,
that he will lie,
unlike this moment,
beneath a moonless night,
invisible as the air.


Through the congested
clouds it creeps,
its vague, cratered tonnage,
amid the dust, glides hauntingly
through the mystery about,
its path worn thin,
reflecting the ambitions
above which it hovers
that are slowly invading
dark recesses once hidden,
barely illuminated by starlight.
Its ghostly image
meanders in and out of sight,
passing through night
like a dream
of continuous divergence
though its warning
and pleas can never be discerned
for under the black sky
it has been decreed
to navigate in exile,
growing more blanch
with every revolution
as we stare,
sometimes in melancholy
sometimes in wonder,
knowing no person
will cast themselves asunder
as savior.

copyright 2016, Michael Keshigian


Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released in May, 2015 by Black Poppy Review. Other published books and chapbooks: Dark Edges, Eagle’s Perch, Wildflowers, Jazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, and Translucent View. Published in numerous national and international journals, he is a 6-time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best Of The Net nominee.

Monday, November 21, 2016

About Dad by Donal Mahoney

They’re in the kitchen,
drinking coffee, the kids,
in their fifties now, 
figuring out what to do 
about Dad who’s 
in the parlor listening,
counting all the marbles
they think he’s lost.
The six of them flew in 
to bury mother.
They won’t go back
until they figure out 
what to do about Dad.
At the funeral they saw
Father Kelly kiss Dad’s 
wedding ring, the one 
he’s worn for 60 years.
Father Kelly bowed 
over the wheelchair 
as if Dad were pope 
and told him he’d be over 
Tuesday night as usual 
for checkers and a beer.
Best two out of three
goes to heaven first.

One of many nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney  
has had poetry and fiction appear in various publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at tp://

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Dark Light by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Yet another vestige of love lost
whetted cheeks and swollen eyes
life's cruel moments wreak havoc
within the softness of one's heart.

Blasphemous tides slap ruby lips
take a soul with an innocuous glee
in a moment you're smiling then
blood stained teeth devour again.

a heart stops beating with malice
the breath gone in a rattle and hum
final whispers and the brain quivers
dormant pulse and a bluish pallor. 

the tempest roars imperviously loud
a body can be lost, never to be found
great ships disintegrate upon granite
lives are left, penned on parchment.

the Reaper watches jubilant on rocks
as a grand lighthouse loses once more
clothing and splintered wood float by
rubble and rabble are left on the shore.

in a stormy gale, glows a freakish orb
stung by the tail of a flaming banshee
harbinger doomed in that soulless sky
tears in the torrent beget a Dark Light.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet from Oklahoma. He loves thunderstorms! His published work can be found in reviews, journals, magazines and anthologies throughout the web and in print venues. His new book of poetry, "The Cellaring", is now available from His poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net for 2016.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Entering the Tomb by Steve Klepetar

You’ll find no mummies here, wrapped
in linen with their fine organs preserved
in canopic jars, no ghosts or empty coffins –

just the stone floor, dusty and cold
and images carved into rough walls:

a woman rides a red beast, 
its nostrils breathing coal-smudged flame; 

two children hold hands on a platform 
made of sheaves; two bulls pull a cart

trailed by a bear and a hairless priest 
whose crumpled face resembles an owl 

fed on mysteries by the side of a lake 
bearing boats through serpentine caverns of night.

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including one in 2016). Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. His collections Family Reunion (Big Table Publishing) and A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) are forthcoming in 2017.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Foolish Disbelief by Linda M. Crate

a murder of ravens
met at the
and their derisive cries
uncovered the
body of
a small child
bathed in her own blood
with marks
upon her throat like those of
an adder;
the townsfolk killed all the snakes
in their paranoia—
but the vampires
hidden in the shadows,
laughing at the villagers disbelief
of their existence
revealing body after body as the
villagers insisted upon
blaming something

Linda M. Crate's poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks the latest of which came out in August 2016: If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications). She is also the author of the fantasy novels branded as the Magic series.