Friday, August 26, 2016

Black Poppy Open to Chaplet Submissions Only

Dear Poets & Readers,

Black Poppy Review is currently open to chaplet submissions only, at this time. If you've written a chaplet, a tiny collection of poems with a central theme, containing 7-10 poems, then feel free to send them this way. More info can be located on the guidelines submissions page. I look forward to reading your chaplet!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Martin Willitts Jr. - As Much As Some People.../ This Unquiet Life

As Much As Some People Try To Destroy the Earth and All of Its Inhabitants, There Is Still Some Small Hope

Many shadows go to the edge of a sheer drop-off 
and never jump. 
I always approach the mysterious as a lover does.

The troubling is always quiet, like a stone soaking heat.
I am not at home with the easy way about life.
One has to lift those heat-stones now and then,
feel their heft, look for traces of fossils or rattlesnakes.

As the few in power try to eradicate all wildness, 
they do not notice the deep well 
of interconnected and interdependent species 
and how it might lead to their eventual downfall eventually,
and how it is an increasing countdown.

There is such a thing as too much timid caution —
it’s not good for you. In this high heat, shadows undulate
and flow, like blue honeysuckles on vines. Time
has its own pace as if it was a whisper of tomorrow.

It does not do any good to be impatient for stars to appear.
Soon there will be too many to count.

This Unquiet Life

There is a loss which plunges. 
It increases all illness
sitting in the phases of dissembling bones
as a threshold of more unendurable pain.
Each time memory appears, it detonates.

And when there is a mortuary 
in the stilled grey artifacts of a person’s eyes
hauntingly drifting away, 
the weather sharply turns
almost on the urge of break.

A barn could lose all struts, it roof loose pieces,
barn swallows flying through the empty gaps,
the walls could tumble into the mid-field,
fading and recollecting when animals were fed,
and we witness our own disconcerting feelings —

it is long-term and failing, knowing it’s not ours 
to correct. We are helpless as distant stars.
Still, that is cleansing. And this other loss
continues, disturbs, drags down our heart,
wondering if it will ever bottom-out.

Some pain is common as closing a silverware drawer.
This is not some light descending stars. Pain is not 
an empty rocking chair moving after the person dies.
Each momentary return tells a story of what it is like
in the Other place, always saying there is no pain,

It is not until we are near natural habitat
can we hear the tree frog climb its music
into the sky, each note a branch,
do we understand any cautionary tale
begins the day where nothing can be quieted.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He was nominated for 11 Pushcart and 11 Best of the Net awards. He provided his hands-on workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Donal Mahoney - Ms. Editor Savaged by Mr. Author / At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day

Ms. Editor Savaged by Mr. Author

It is a different society now. 
Less respect for people at either end 
and folks in the middle as well.

People no longer are treated like linen.
Too often like Kleenex used and tossed.
Since it’s a man who’s sending those emails,

don't bother taking any offense.
We men are often not too nice to women 
standing up although we can be sweet 

as honey when wanting them supine. 
You have a fine magazine but need  
thicker armor over your sensibilities. 

In my world, you’re young and while
I’d never applaud the benefits of age, 
it has at least one that’s valuable.

When you’re near the top of the hill 
it's easier to laugh at the louts below
whizzing darts past your keister.

At Bus Stops on Thanksgiving Day

Before dawn, people
who work on Thanksgiving Day  
wait in the wind for a bus 
to arrive or maybe not.
It's too cold to talk  
so the people stand 
like minutemen and plan 
a revolution that would shock  
nice families who drive by later, 
children tucked in scarves 
and mittens, laughing 
all the way to Nana's house  
for turkey, gravy, stuffing 
and later in the day 
a ballerina of whipped cream 
twirling on pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving is the day 
America asks for seconds
and sorts its servers 
from the served.

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and  Commonweal.  Some of his work can be found at

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Pushcart Prize Nominees, 2015

Congratulations to the following poets!

Unspoken Water by Taylor Graham

Leroy and His Love Affair by Michael Lee Johnson

A Tear Down by Tricia Knoll

Rust: Decay in Movements by Jessica Lindsley

At Bonaventure Cemetery by Marianne Szlyk

Shooting the Field Horse by Martin Willitts Jr.

Michael Keshigian - That Other Place

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.

Michael Keshigian’s ninth poetry book, Dark Edges was released September, 2014 by Flutter Press.  He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals most recently including Poesy, Aji Magazine, The Chiron Review, California Quarterly, Bluepepper and has appeared as feature writer in over a dozen publications with 5 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Marc Carver - The Lighthouse

You see a light in some people 
that you don't see in others, 
it doesn't blind you 
but you know it is there.
In others you see darkness and pain 
and in most 
you see nothing, 
only a dull light, 
that never goes up or down,
no flicker 
I prefer the lighted ones 
everytime you see them 
it is like the flash of a lighthouse 
you cannot miss it.