Tuesday, 7 December 2021

One Poem by Alec Solomita




Sheets of darkness flutter down,

spotted by faint falling stars.


In front of the quiet window,

I swirl my glass

to hear the ice clink.


My old friend was born this day

on a country Thanksgiving night,

her wailing matching the thin wind,

note for note.

Alec Solomita is a writer and artist working in the Boston (USA) area. His fiction has appeared in the Southwest Review, The Mississippi Review, Southword Journal, and Peacock, among other publications. He was shortlisted by the Bridport Prize and Southword Journal. His poetry has appeared in Poetica, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Litbreak, Driftwood Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Galway Review, The Lake, and elsewhere, including several anthologies. His photographs and drawings can be found in Convivium, Fatal Flaw, Young Ravens Review, Tell-Tale Inklings, and other publications. He took the cover photo and designed the cover of his poetry chapbook, “Do Not Forsake Me,” which was published in 2017. His full-length poetry book “Hard To Be a Hero,” will be coming out in spring of next year.


One Poem by Susan Tepper


To The Cellars


In the worst parts

counting thirteen steps

you descend to the cellars

seeking extreme unction

in free fall—

Commonplace are your prayers:

The boiler chugging hot & fiery.

Lights coming on  

when the ceiling switch

is flicked.

No dirty water

from sudden squalls

hovering inches above

the concrete floor:

Metaphor or premonition—

An insistence on blue floor paint.

Finally all the leaves are down

and the tree’s dead arms stretch out

with insoluble questions.

What do I know?

Susan Tepper is a twenty year writer and the author of nine published books of fiction and poetry.  Her most recent are a poetry chap CONFESS (Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and a funky road novel WHAT DRIVES MEN (Wilderness House Press, 2019). Currently, she’s in pre-production of an Off-Broadway Play she wrote and titled ‘The Crooked Heart’ based on artist Jackson Pollock in his later years. www.susantepper.com

Three Superb Poems by Steve Klepetar


"Let us intoxicate ourselves on ink, since we lack the nectar of the gods." 


The Ruined House


Once I visited a ruined house out in the country. 

It had an abandoned well with stone sides 

and splintery boards nailed over the opening. 

There were gaps between the wall studs, 

large holes torn in the roof. We were a dozen 

little kids, just six or seven that summer.

Someone brought us there to play. I’m serious, 

though they warned us not to lean over the stones, 

to be careful on the derelict steps. 

What did we do for hours in the tall grass? 

I remember chipmunk holes and red newts 

on a flat rock. It’s hard to believe this happened, 

though nobody died. We were long gone by the time 

the sun went down. We crossed the road together, 

our small hands linked in a human chair. 

A green pickup stopped, and a bearded man 

sat patiently as we went by. He didn’t drum his fingers 

or honk or wave, and when he drove off, we were glad 

to see his red taillights as the truck slipped into low gear, 

growled up hill toward the horse farm by the county line.




Blood Moon


I call to your shadow in the only voice 

we understand, a vocalization of blood 

and breath. I call out into the night 

of the blood moon, the night of frogs. 


Wind tears branches from the river birch. 

Across the lake, lights blink like tiny fires 

on the shore. I call out into the night 

of wind, the night of angels dancing, 

the night of echoes and memory and joy. 


I call and you answer. 

The long night has something to say 

about cracking earth and magma rising

from the pit. I call out and you respond. 

Hand in hand we tear ourselves from dreams. 


As Stars Appear


On the hill golden leaves, 

and leaves like flame. 

Afternoon sun burns 

treetops in the chilly air.


The only thing missing 

is smoke and cloud.


A door opens, leading 

to a meadow where crows 

plot among the boney trees.


I have fallen into a dream 

of water rising 

through grass, like music 

in a stairwell as the stars appear.


Steve Klepetar lives in the Shire (Berkshire County, in Massachusetts, that is). His work has appeared widely and has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. He is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Family Reunion and The Li Bo Poems.

Steve Klepetar is waiting out the winter and the pandemic in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

Two Fabulous Poems by Margaret Kiernan


Space With Time-

Winter ‘21


Beyond the broken spud stone

The gate clicks shut

December dark days

My house creaks

The storm will not abate


I can’t go out or you cannot here

I surrender for grace to enter

Storm Barra blows booms mocks the day

In the loft odd things move

As a paper-bag drifts by the windowpane


On the floor in a basket lie distorted photographs

Inclined towards neglect

Un-broached narratives I finger through

Catch some drift of other people’s tales

I leave the room


The woods call me, call to me

Call me out for my lapsed presence

I cannot go

If only they would know

Perhaps the trees have not heard

Of the things astray

In suburbia


I play the Tube, travel virtual trips

Far away over snow covered ground

I’m a lady on a train bumped over


Eyes projectile beams above

A blocked sense of smell

Ten days of daily horoscopes

Ironic that they predict so much

No mention of the plague

In town

On my street

On my brow.

Summer Without Festivals-



Nights without rest

dreams kicked to the floor

folds of cotton swiped out to

remembered oft repeated

old café gossip


No panorama of city skyrise

not a colour on the streets

or rattle from nosing  trains

without shoppers

theatre goer’s unseen


If only we had rock music or

Fiestas in a field to

drink in the vibrancy of the green

or bleating from a jazz club

underneath a street.


The darkness makes clear

within the breast

where tiny flutters arrest

this one cannot be walked out

how did we get from there to here?


Getting up each morn to do it all again

arrange the day

spread it out like a cloth over grass

awaiting the picnic hamper, oh to have a cat.

Margaret Kiernan - nominated for Best of the Net in 2021, writes fiction, non-fiction essay, memoir, and poetry. She has had poetry and prose published in e-book, in anthology collections, and literary journals and magazines - including, Black-lion Press, Pendemic.ie journal-C19 collection , archived at University College Dublin, The Blue Nib Lit - Journal , The Write Life Magazine, Unity Global Festival, Vox Galvia at the Galway Advertiser, A New Ulster Literary Press, The Burrow Lit. Journal, Poet-Head.Wordpress.com, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Galway Review and The Irish Canadian Cultural Newsmagazine, New Brunswick.

She writes with Over the Edge, Thursday writing/reading group at Galway Arts Centre, and, Ox Mountain Poets, Sligo.

She is listed in the Index of Contemporary Women Poets in Ireland, 2020.

She holds several Educational qualifications, Including a Degree in Arts in Humanities, from Sligo IT.

Her background is in Advocacy in Human and Social Rights.

Margaret has completed numerous courses and workshops in writing, for prose and poetry.

Margaret has four grown-up children. She lives in Westmeath with her dog Molly. She is a landscape painter. Is into Nature, walking, gardening, music, and heritage. She is working towards a First collection in Poetry.

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Four Sublime Poems by John Drudge


Love’s Losses


Taking notes

From an internal sky


On our own suffering

With desire

Exchanging one pain

For another

In the dark awkward


Of ourselves

Where we question


In the aftermath

Of destruction

With the pieces

Of our striving

Falling fast

And hard

Into the tragedy

Of each new


Slow Down


I work to live

I do not

Live to work

I find


Is the key

To finding

One’s rhythm

With the beat of nature

In our hearts

And the simple joys

Found in moments

Of fine wine

And new found cheeses

From the Loire valley

Living life as priority

Not ambition


In the pleasure

Of taking things

As they come


With every action


By a delicate

Intentional peace

And living

How we’d like life to be





The fundamentals

Of death

Are simple

And to the point

No sense in beating

Around the bush

We are here

And then we are

No more

The ending unimportant

The fundamentals

Of everything

A flickering

Of a battered eye

And a shivering

At the core



The stories

We tell ourselves

Are the lives

We create

Each one unique

In essence

In and of itself

Unto itself

Rolling into

A flattened tomorrow

Lost in the tale

Of something

Beyond redemption

John Drudge is a social worker working in the field of disability management and holds degrees in social work, rehabilitation services, and psychology.  He is the author of four books of poetry: “March” (2019), “The Seasons of Us” (2019), New Days (2020), and Fragments (2021). His work has appeared widely in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies internationally. John is also a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and lives in Caledon Ontario, Canada with his wife and two children.


Monday, 6 December 2021

Haiku by Dr. Mona Bedi





the blue skies

lost in the city din-birdsong

receding waters

the flood leaves behind

broken dreams

derma clinic

negotiating their middle age–

hollywood beauties

roadside motel

we see the ghosts

of lovers past


still looking

for her spare key

lovers tiff


dentist's chair

the way he digs up

my past


the psychiatrist finally

peels off my layers



she haggles

for the memories

four leaf clover

all the wishes 


By Dr Mona Bedi, Delhi, India.

Two Poems by Shaswata Gangopadhyay



I watch him from a distance-the young guy

Standing at Free School Street with a hanky tied to his right hand


Tall in height, he appears to be a sailor unknown

Upon his deep blue T-shirt glows a shining line :

'If being sexy is a crime, arrest me soon'

The girls beside measure him with an oblique look

Some of them lick their lips, as if it's storm in the wild desert,

Where snakes crawl with hissing sounds,

Such is the blazing pain all over the pores of the body


Halogen flashing, serially on the pavements night descends

As if with endless froths from the corks of champagne,

- The 'night' which is also a woman fasting,

Beaconing the boy from inside of a black car

And then, taking him in it, starts towards no destination.

The way Vincent Van Gogh thought

Was I born on a stone

with froth and shrub on my body?

Here and there those mine- workers

and pregnant women, who ramble


like shadows, a cane-basket and hair grip

they have left behind are symbols of depression,

when I think that way

my blood fluctuates like ebb and flow


One who throws towards the distressed people

strong ladders knitted with ropes,

I'll certainly reach near them

with my easel and colour-brush


Their wounded parts following my glance

are peeping through my drawings of sketches

just like a sun-flower growing solitarily 

and secretly in the womb of night.

Shaswata Gangopadhyay (India) : is one of the prominent faces of Contemporary Bengali Poetry, who started writing in Mid 90s. Born and brought up at Kolkata, Shaswata has a profound interest in travelling, adventure and classical music.

His poems are regularly published in all six continents through translations in different languages.

His book of Poems : Inhabitant of Pluto Planet (2001), Offspring of Monster (2009), Holes of Red Crabs(2015) and Rhododendron Cafe (2021).

Recently His ‘Selected Love Poems’ have been published from Cairo, Egypt.



One Poem by Adrian David




His bloodshot eyes go down her bust

as his serpentine mind gets flooded with lust.


Touching her in places never touched before,

her tender body starts feeling too sore.


With his every stroke filling her with dread,

she is running out of tears to shed.


Like a hungry animal ravaging its prey,

he steals her precious childhood today.


Being ripped apart by a monster so insane,

she silently screams in unbearable pain.


The scars on her body may fade away,

but the ones in her mind are here to stay.


“Keep this a secret.” He flashes her a wicked smile,

deceiving the little girl yet again with his fatal guile.


Not wanting to drive him mad,

she stutters innocently, “Okay, Dad.”

Adrian David writes ads by day and poetry by night. His poems explore themes like trauma, existential crises, society, and everything in between, from the mundane to the sublime.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Five Poems by Ajanta Paul






smelling of rain

and clouds from faraway lands


trailing diaphanous diaries

of monsoon, miasma and mist,


dispersing into the dank subsoil,

their fetid freight of fears,


sifting anguished aquifers

springs welling with tears,


the thud of clod on coffin

dull sound of finality.




is soil with its bustling banter

between microbes and minerals,


red, black, white and brown, bits of bodies,

organic residue mingled in pain,


the anthropomorphic angina

of heartland in agony,


carrying in its veins

the susurration of streams


and the smell of crushed stone

in hushed geological gossip.




which can revive

only if the world recedes


topography held in tension

by coordinates that conspire


to map a memory, clear

as a festival morning, sheer


in the sunshine of simple faith

reimagining abundance in loam,


resisting alluvial angst

to redeem a lost kingdom.




is that ubiquitous powder, dust,

ground in the whetstone of time's lust


flying in the face of glory

challenging life to retain its superiority,


the gritty, grainy, grimy destiny

of statues and men alike,


its dancing motes scripting

an ephemeral, shifting story


belying its stable inevitability

as our eventual, collective history.

Origami of Outfits


I fashioned a new me,

folding osteoarthritic limbs

like stiff paper on a cut-out


in the origami of outfits

that informs the sartorial saga

of this poor show.


The brace will embrace

the recrafted warrior 

come to life in a new dress,


armour for battle stress

in the fight for existence,

shield protecting my brittle ribs,


artfully concealing the little fibs

with which I try to beguile my wits,

essentially, a cage enclosing another,


a straight jacket, rather,

designed to uphold the tired torso

in a relentless reinforcement


of metal, thread and cloth

valiantly striving to ward off

the inevitable rust and moth.


The belt around the waist

is not Hippolyta's girdle

seized by Hercules to overcome his hurdle


but an orthopaedic reminder, 

of the decadal calendar

and its toll on the skeleton of truth.


It's age's appendage, geriatric adage, 

a caring clasp, firm with advice sage,

to help one get through the day


by keeping the lower vertebrae

in their appointed places,

lest they droop or bend


or, in any way descend

in the general degeneration of things,

and thus the rules offend.


I wonder, would the cervical collar

have helped Atlas bear better

the weight of the world on his rugged shoulders?


As long as thoughts defy

The general decline

And refuse to calcify


There will be hope and dream

Behind those eyes sanguine,

Resisting the rigours of rheum.


No Return


When the soul splits

Like the sole of your shoe,

And yawns with every step,


The tongue hanging out

Yapping its frustration

On the hard pavement,


Echoing amidst the sounds

Of a city going to sleep

In the cold clasp of winter,


The trundle of the last bus,

Dogs barking in nights of nowhere,

The crunch of twigs beneath tired feet


You feel all the words

Have been said, promises unmade,

And signs read.


The last mile left to be trod

Blurs into milestones

Like crosses in a war cemetery,


Pale and white in the rain

The wood whittled down

To a sparseness sadly eloquent


Of names on a plaque,

At once anonymous and intimate

In their mingling of life and death.



Everywhere I turn

there are shining surfaces,

from moon reflecting sun


to window pane

refracting afternoon sheen,

before which schoolgirls


pause and preen,

self-consciously tucking in

a stray strand of hair,


the glass on the trial room wall

in the multifarious mall

confusing with a profusion of options,


Eden before the Fall

pure and natural,

wrapped in a luminous shawl,


the lens of levity, stretching

in a series of distorted images

in the circus tent of life,


the rear view mirror

crowded with traffic

in memory's thoroughfare.


There's no respite

from the looking glass,

and its likenesses


at every bend and turn

invariably surrounding one,

beyond and within,


the brilliant crystal sphere

glinting with glimpses

of a revolving future,


the prism of the past

catching through its facets

vibrant vistas and vignettes


along with promise unfulfilled

sparkling like a teardrop

in the eye of fate.



He had seen her somewhere,

on the fringe of a crowd

in the cusp of ages,


at the edge of memory,

in a reflection on water

wavering and splintering,


heard her in a tune haunting the mind,

the echo of an elusive strain,

wafting the eternal question,


had felt her as design melting into other designs,

forever forging new connections

in the ever-expanding web of signs,


like the face that people see, or think they see

in a tangle of branches, or clouds,

or cracks in an old wall,


in anything at all,

when they're not really looking

for it, or anything in particular,


and it insinuates itself

into their vision, only they can see it

at that time and place


that sudden leaping configuration

trembling with imminent dissolution,

created by things, random.


Dr. Ajanta Paul is an academic from Kolkata, India who writes poetry, short stories and literary criticism. She has published in literary journals including Spadina Literary Review, The Pangolin Review, The Piker Press, Shot Glass Journal, Poetic Sun, The Wild Word, Capella, The Punch Magazine and The Bombay Review. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2020. Ajanta published a collection of short stories The Elixir Maker and Other Stories in 2019(http://www.amazon.in/dp/B07N42KG1Q?ref=myi_title_dpand a book of poetic plays The Journey Eternal in 2013 (https://publications.salesiancollege.net/publications/books/a-journey-eternal-poems-plays/)

One Poem by Alec Solomita

  Window   Sheets of darkness flutter down, spotted by faint falling stars.   In front of the quiet window, I swirl my glass t...