July 5, 2021

Writing by Corey Mesler

I wrote a poem for Misery.
She did not read a word.
Though lame I have walked in
the great, clean expanse of memory
like an astronaut newly arrived.
I wrote a poem for Memory
and he could not understand a word.
In the brightest sunshine I am not
as shrewd as Pain, or Wonder.
I’ll leave the rest up to you: how
to live like this, how to write
a poem, and how to end it, finally.

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 20 books of fiction and poetry.  With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. 

July 2, 2021

Asylum Nights by Mike Rader

The moon finds the courtyard
Black in sleep,
Blind windows watch a man
Coarsely smocked,
Slanting into the shadows
Seeking escape,
Digging a precious knife
Into his fevered wrist,
Blooding the somber stones,
Where oft walks the superintendent
Beneath his umbrella
Lest moonbeams turn him
As crazed as his charges.

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.

June 30, 2021

March Night by John Grey

Awake in cold dark,
wet wind hammering the window,
sheets in disarray,
curtain in tremors.
Walls feel thin as my skin.
Night is raw.
Why sleep?
Even the sun in dreams
sinks before the glistening
chill of ghosts.

The dregs of February
keep the blood from business,
these corpuscles mere shills
for the brumal carnival.

So March shakes off winter's starkness,
for its own belligerence, damp and blustering,
the bitterest cold, not out there
somewhere in the depths of snow,
but blowing homeward.

Sure, it's April soon,
winter's death is assured,
but I shiver through the ice tears of its mourners.

June 28, 2021

Feeding the Storm by Shelly Jones

She stands arms akimbo in the cornfield,
papery stalks shift, a raspy prayer for rain.

Bare-knuckled fingers dig in dry earth,
nail biting: grit, grub, stone, and shell.

Her skin soaks in dirt, breathes it in, waits
for thunder to resound, an ancient promise.

Air cooling, she tucks beneath a blanket of nettle,
bindweed and cocklebur, prickling her belly.

Rain settles across the valley as labradorite eyes
slip beneath mud, her face upturned like spring bulbs.

Shelly Jones, PhD (@shellyjansen) is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Delhi, where she teaches classes in mythology, folklore, literature, and writing. Her speculative work has been published in Podcastle, New Myths, The Future Fire, and elsewhere.

June 25, 2021

Sleepwalker by Sandy Hiss

Inspired by the film Silent Hill

In my dreams,
someone is calling to me in the mist.
I cannot see who it is. The voice is familiar
yet distant. My lips tremble in reply.
Mother? Is it you?

Above me,
black petals fall from the sky,
fluttering like moths
drawn to some unknown light.
My eyes become full moons.

The petals soon envelope me,
warm as a mother’s touch,
smudging my pale cheeks
in dark, ashy kisses.

Below me,
the earth is on fire,
singeing the soles of my boots.
I run, on and on, towards shelter,
towards the voice that continues to call.

I think of mother again.
Where could she be?
I think of a lone rose
struggling to bloom
beneath a choking sky.

Before me,
the abandoned town
is silent but not dead.
She is here somewhere,
among the dead and debris.

I will walk forever
until I fall back into her arms.

Sandy Hiss writes lyrical poetry and short fiction in various genres such as horror, paranormal, and fairy tale. Her works include The Rosegiver and The Haunting of Meredith. She finds forests, gardens with stone statues, and old world architecture to be hauntingly beautiful.

June 21, 2021

Tiny Sparrow Feet by Michael Lee Johnson

It's calm.
Cheeky, unexpected.
Too quiet.
My clear plastic bowls
serve as my bird feeder.
I don't hear the distant
scratching, shuffling
of tiny sparrow feet,
the wing dances, fluttering, of a hungry
morning's lack of big band sounds.
I walk tentatively to my patio window,
spy the balcony with my detective's eyes.
I witness three newly hatched
toddler sparrows, curved nails, mounted
deep, in their mother's dead, decaying back.
Their childish beaks bent over elongated,
delicately, into golden chips, and dusted yellow corn.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson is published in more than 2,033 new publications. His poems have appeared in 42 countries; he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. He is the administrator of six Facebook poetry groups; he has several new poetry chapbooks coming out soon.

June 18, 2021

Envy by Adam Levon Brown

I saw the cosmos
embedded in your heart
and I nearly went to Hell
trying to take it from you

You held onto my envy
like it was your own,
knowing it would
eventually, haunt you

Haunt me, envy, haunt you,
envy, haunt us, envy

Our crowns fall
like broken angels
yet in our hearts,
no angel is left without Heaven
no matter their crimes

We both know the price of mercy

It drips down our chins
in the blood of our mothers and fathers

It reeks of the past
yet promises a future
where we both can go on
living without fear

It sounds like wind
when wind is hope,
and hope is really
just another four-letter
word that silences the misery

Blood is no longer a price to pay,
there is love beyond fear,
and the wind cannot blow
without the hope that we all share

Filling the cracks that our now
emptiness used to fill

Adam Levon Brown is an Award-winning poet, Mental health advocate/sufferer, and published Artist. He is the author of six poetry books. He has had his work translated into Spanish, Albanian, Arabic, and Afrikaans. He won the 2019 Blue Nib Chapbook Award and has been shortlisted for the Erbacce Prize for Poetry three times.