Thursday, October 20, 2016

When the Moon is New by Joan McNerney

Groping through darkness
knocking everything down.
Down into enormous night
where thoughts unravel.

Memories moan past us as
shadows quiver across walls.
We lie pinned to bed sheets
like captive butterflies.

Dry butterflies...our throats
are brittle, eyes turning
from light.  Sore arms reach
for anything soft to hold.

Remembering seasons gone by.
So many lost promises.
This huge moment surrounding us.
Wide awake we wait for the new day.

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Halloween by G.E. Schwartz

It's neither trick nor treat. Come
into this house of horror, whoever
you are. I am waiting here with my
little dark box of words. You may
have this one and you this. I am
remembering Halloween when all the
callers were children. You are not
children playing at warlocks, witches,
zombies, devils, ghosts, super heroes--
but ghosts pretending to be people;
this is something I really understand,
being myself no more substantial now
than you who have no door to time
but stand outside with threat and
promise, waiting for words that are
no more than words.

G. E. Schwartz, born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, 1958, is the author of Only Others Are: Poems (Legible Press), WORLD (Furniture Press), and SPEAKING IN TONGUES (Hank's Loose Gravel Press). He is a simple bell-ringer.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Day of Black Feathers by Linda M. Crate

the gate stands firm
gazing upon the
that evades his cool steel
and then there is a maid
of sixteen or seventeen
standing outside
the thorny garden pruned and forgotten;
her grey eyes
as dead as he feels inside
her long white hair
seems to declare
her older than she truly is—
covers are rarely
a good judge of character
some of the most poisonous 
are disguised as angels
when they're really demons,
and she is no different;
she is disguised as plain but the witch
opens the gate as if there were never any
lock and she glances behind her as she
fetches a body and drags it with
long nails into the 
forgotten roses
watching as the ravens feast upon the flesh without
a morsel of regret. 

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.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Nuclear Childhood by Donal Mahoney

What if your parents 
had never met
had never married 

had never yelled 
at each other 
and instead had wed

someone they loved
and lived peacefully 
all those years.

That would have been 
their Eden but you 
shaking there now

decades later 
wouldn’t be with us  
cursing the tremors  

of a nuclear childhood 
you still remember
long after they’re dead.

Donal Mahoney lives in St, Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. Like many people he has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes and has had poetry and fiction published in print and online in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chaplet #5 - Dark Flower by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Dark Flower

Poetry & Cover Art
By Stephen Jarrell Williams


Table of Contents

My Secrets
Only A Few Are Picked*
Always In The Distance
The Plea
Night call
The Spell
Her Necklace
My Only Hope

* First published in Black Poppy Review
January 30, 2015

My Secrets

My secrets are ancient
Myths have formed at their edges

My face and form are forever
Changing somewhat with my mood

Pressing my finger on another mini knot
Beginning bulge trying to rise on my forehead
Tip of a horn

A circular rubbing it down keeps my intentions hidden
Vampire heal thyself
And I do

I was one of the first to write and paint
Abstract meanings
Dark flowers

Filing down my growing nails and teeth
Never wearing a cape
Staying away from mirrors a joke

Turning into smoke and flying like a bat so ridiculous
But it gives a scare and helps to cover my footprints

The day a whim
Night its covering

I am high and low and fickled like an old hag
I’m strong as a mad bull on the charge

I am a lie
I am a quiver magnified

I laugh until I’m hoarse when drunk
But the truth is I often convulse into fits of tears

I drink the wine of others
Slow sips of boring lives

But some make me a child again
Dreaming dreams I wish to die within.

Only A Few Are Picked

The long night lingers before you
But you know its end will be too quick
Too painful
Too full of eyes closing

You step out on the street
Cars moving and pedestrians walking
Unaware of all the hovering above them
Only a few are picked

Only a few morsels in this area of the city
But there’s a whole country
A whole world half in darkness
And half blinded by the light

The harvest is plentiful
A chooser’s paradise
No one listening
Or believing

The monsters among us.

*First published in Black Poppy Review
January 30, 2015

Always in the Distance

This night bringing everyone out
A calming breeze with another day done at the job

I see you down the street walking around the corner
My steps quicken as you are always beyond me

Seemingly teasing me to follow
Just to get another glimpse

Another sigh
Amplified when I cannot find you

The streets elongated with those so fortunate
Those that have seen you up close

Those that keep a picture of you in their minds
A picture to return to in their dreams

But for me
You are gone again

Always disappearing
Into your hiding place

For somehow you have sensed me
Sensed my strangeness

Sensed my need to hold you in my arms
Struggling against me

Plucking your magnificent wings off
Kissing you with the kiss of sin
But never leaving you in the unreachable distance.

The Plea

Every night the stars seem to reach down and stroke me
Then they crush me
Pushing me face first into the street
Mashing me into the asphalt maggots

It takes
Everything I have to get up

Blood soaked again
Beautifully wicked within the shadows of the fallen

I can fly now
But never high enough

The earth and its magnetic pull
We are trapped

Trapped in the taking of others with us
Trapped in hearing their pleas for release
We turn to the seductive release of the crazed

It whips at us
Whipping continually

Oh please
Let the sun rise again
In a garden of long ago when the world was whole.

Night Call

The last of the day ebbs back toward the horizon
Shadows collecting into the darkness
Souls and those without souls

Hoping what we have heard is not true
Us that feel the sharp pain of separation
A rebellion in our blood

We are the stone-hard dreamers
Whispering in the crowning of night
Magnificent in our madness

I say “we” and I seldom see
Others of my kind
But we are everywhere

We often attain greatness in the public eye
But more often we are hidden within
Capes and caves and cavernous mansions

And the world sweeps past us
As we grab at the strands of life
Lost from a time we cannot remember

The night always calling
Leading us out into the emptiness
The endless search of loneliness
Tortured by the so-called people of love.

The Spell

You’re in a state of dreams and half awareness
My spell upon you

Your eyes heavy
Your body light

Floating with my touch
Quivering with my words

Stillness of night outside the window
A ring of candle lights around our bed

You have a slight smile of anticipation
Your flesh rosy pink

Soon to be caressed
Tingled into a thirst

Your moans expecting heaven
Your suppressed screams ready to be released

Nothing like this
Has ever happened to you

The floorboards creaking
With my weight coming down upon you

Snuffing out the candles
Consuming your unbelieving world into mine.

Her Necklace

She didn’t wake up screaming
Wondered why the sunlight through the window
Did nothing to me

She went to the bathroom
Peed blood
Rinsed her mouth with water from the tap

She came back into the bedroom unafraid
Stood before me smiling
Took her necklace off
Placed it in the palms of my hands

She gave me a kiss on the cheek
And left me alone
A silver cross
A dare
Dangling from the necklace.

My Only Hope

My paradise will be death
Never seeing another that I must have
Never seeing another like myself

Only a few of us begging for the end
The matrix of the mirror
My only hope

Truth in the great sacrifice
A man hanging on a cross long ago
For everyone and those such as I.

copyright 2016, Stephen Jarrell Williams

About the Author: 

Not so long ago, Stephen Jarrell Williams was called by some, the Great Poet of Doom…  Now, he writes at night, enthused, and waiting for the Coming Good Dawn.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Black Pearl Sky by Sandy Benitez

She was alone again, trying not to
look behind at the ghosts that followed
her home. The cool air stifled her
breath; she coughed just to think.

With a loud rumble, the clouds above 
parted ways, having fought over a lost 
crow that stole their warmth. Pellets
of black pearls fell from the sky, 

bouncing off her porcelain body. Like
old war wounds, she carried the cracks
in silence. There would be no storytelling
for the children, only nightmares 

replaying in her eyes. Her pale hands 
trembled as they shielded her from the 
pain. With a loud caw, she spread her 
wounded wings, ever searching for the 

sun that would warm her frozen heart. 

Sandy Benitez is the editor of Black Poppy Review. Her first novel, a gothic fantasy, The Rosegiver, was published in February 2016. She enjoys horror movies & books, wandering through old cemeteries, and perusing antique stores.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Little Old Cemetery by Lark Beltran

Dawn trails night mist over cypresses
guarding a rusted gate seldom opened.
Beyond it, wisteria vines festoon
rows of crooked iron crosses, their
epitaphs corroding. A charnal charm
pervades, damp-earth effluvia
from has-been, laid-aside, long-lost loves.
Reddened with fallen bougainvillea bracks,
a rain puddle reflects the sad angel
honoring someone´s Maria.  Drained
of color, plastic roses in a cheap,
chipped vase before her tomb 
belie the affection of survivors
grown hoary and preoccupied
with their own mortality.  Full of life,
a robin scrabbles for the early worm.

Lark Beltran, originally from California, has lived In Peru for many years as an ESL teacher.  Many of Lark´s  poems have appeared in online and offline journals.