February 5, 2024


On January 18, 2024, I was contacted by poet John Minczeski about a case of plagiarism.  He informed me that his poem In the Fifth Month of Lockdown, I Plant Clematis, published in "One Art," in April, 2022, had been plagiarized word for word by someone named John Kucera.  The poem was titled Glaciers and was posted on Black Poppy in November 2023.  Upon learning this awful info, I promptly removed the poem. Thank you Mr. Minczeski for informing me about this and I do feel terrible that this seems to keep happening to him and his work from the same bad seed.

Black Poppy Review DOES NOT condone plagiarism in any way, so do think twice before sending poetry or flash fiction this way that is not yours. You may think you will get away with it maybe even for a little while, but eventually it will catch up to you. 

November 21, 2023

Night and Her Sister / Night Porters by Robert Nisbet

Night and Her Sister

Ellie was a party girl, flickering under
the Queen Street lights on Saturdays,
the night clubs shouting, taxi back
to a rickety flat in a half-lit road, beneath
the nearby industry’s dense breath.

But there was home-ache, always was,
for the farming village near the Irish Sea,
where nights download their textures:
the autumn evenings’ smell of hay;
in January, the crackling tang of frost.

Now a home-ache to be near her sister,
a vicar in that farm-flanked parish,
riven by a crisis of soul and faith,
knowing the nights which smelt of harvest,
but knowing too the aridity, the heart’s clash.

Ellie wanted to be home, be there,
in the spirit’s night, for the woman torn
by faith’s low cry and reason’s call.

*This poem appeared in Ann Arbor Review in 2018.

Night Porters

Their biscuits plod through tea.
There are no lecturers at this hour,
thank God, but a few girl students
whisking down a re-crossed path
from Hall to courtyard, yard to Hall.

The teapot stews. Dai reads Tribune,
dreams of a Socialist dawn
with few students and fewer lecturers.
Michael, teenage himself,
his shoulders stooped into a stuttering shyness,
thinks more of the moonbeams which rest
some evenings on the campus grass,
of the girl who will one night appear
in the still courtyard, lay her hand on his,
hear the stammering cease.

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain, where he won the Prole Pamphlet Competition with Robeson, Fitzgerald and Other Heroes in 2017, and in the USA, where he is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

November 18, 2023

Casket of Love by Michael Lee Johnson

This moon, clinging to a cloudless sky,
offers the light by which we love.
In this park, grass knees high, tickling bare feet,
offers the place we pass pleasant smiles.
Sir Winston Churchill would have
saluted the stately manner this fog lifts,
marching in time across this pond
layering its ghostly body over us
cuddled by the water’s edge,
as if we are burdened by this sealed
casket called love.
Frogs in the marsh, crickets beneath the crocuses
trumpet the last farewell.
A flock of Canadian geese flies overhead
in military V formation.
Yet how lively your lips tremble
against my skin in a manner no
sane soldier dare deny.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 295 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, a song lyricist, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 6 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 Best of the Net nominations.

November 13, 2023

On Dread by Mike Rader

The most dread on this earth
exists exactly, precisely,
in that sliver of time
between day's death and
night's birth.
Within that heartbeat,
that half-breath of distance,
dwell forbidden lusts,
the tormented dead,
the eternally damned,
and the yawning abyss
yearning to consume your soul.

James Aitchison is an Australian author and poet. As Mike Rader, he writes horror and noir fiction and poetry. His work has twice appeared in Black Poppy Review, as well as Horror Tree (Trembling with Fear), Thriller, Akashic Books (Mondays are Murder) and many other magazines and anthologies.

November 10, 2023

Subject #24: Homo Sapien by Farane Zaidi

We have never studied a subject
quite as interesting as this one before.
This is what we have observed:

Its skin is pale and weathered,
splotches of deep red stains
underneath wet, bloodshot eyes.
Its abnormally round head grows
bulbous bulges on either side,
half visible through disheveled hair.

Its physique is unnaturally symmetrical,
bones concealed by excess flesh and meat,
slender forelimbs curling in on themselves,
quivering                            twitching
through the bars of the shackle locked cell.

Perhaps its most fascinating feature is the
giant wart in the center of its face,
oozing clear liquid out of one side
and into the hole that rasps incoherent
wails from its vocal chords. 

The subject is often in distress
when it sees us crawling up to its cage,
watching with every one of our eyes,
small and black, documenting every detail.
It cowers, but we do not intend to harm
our subject – we are scientists, not monsters, after all

Farane Zaidi has been a storyteller from the moment she held her first pencil. Her lifelong ambition is to become an academic librarian and a novelist. For Farane, writing is an escape from the real world—a realm of absolute artistic freedom and boundless creativity.

November 2, 2023

Out of the Past? by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Driving my old Impala
speeding faster than the wind

night moon
gleaming above the highway

listening to myself singing
to my lovely wife

passing groves of trees
endless farms of apple trees

suddenly imagining
tasting a juicy red apple

now humming
taking a deep breath

no other cars before me
clear to the distant city

a perfect night

until looking
into the rearview mirror

unbelievable sight
coming swiftly with a roar

honking cars with lights
lifted high above the road

something holding them up
a dark shape

huge yellow eyes
a snake larger than a train

opening its mouth
outstretching tongue

I glanced over to my smiling wife
holding an apple in her palm

with a bite already taken out
telling me it was my turn....

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to write at night, looking at the stars, and when a comet zips past. He can be found on Twitter @papapoet

October 31, 2023

Poodle by Alfred Fournier

That ragged toy I slept with—
its cottony innards
seeping out of split seams
like fluffy white blood
of a childhood cut short.

The dead starling I found
under mom’s darkened window,
a bird I cut open
not out of cruelty but curiosity,
shocked and disgusted
by its rancid scent,
pink and grey workings
of a factory gone still—
all its parts adding up
        to nothing.

And I wondered what magic
animates any of us
until one day it stops,
an unwound clock.
A toy thrown in the trash
while I was away at school.

Alfred Fournier is an entomologist, writer and community volunteer living in Phoenix, Arizona. His poems and creative nonfiction have appeared in Poppy Road Review, Lunch Ticket, New Flash Fiction Review, The New Verse News, International Times, Quibble, Delmarva Review, and elsewhere. His poetry collection, "A Summons on the Wind" (2023) is available from Kelsay Books and Amazon. alfredfournier.com.