Thursday, 16 September 2021

One Superb Poem by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Beautiful Lies                            


Don't be a stranger !

you said

Just come as you are

if I'm still around

that is

and if you're not

well then

come as you aren't


but come nonetheless

ready to peel paint

and poems off every wall

to bid proper adieu

to this tortured chamber

with its weeping window

with its hardwood soul

with its wounded lilies

still licking salt from their pointy spears


Come join me

you said


a last little Nothing


we leave

all this





if by chance

you just happen 

to pass a loaf of bread

disguised as a sandwich

or a bottle of water

impersonating Merlot

Hmmm Swiss cheese  could be nice

Yes    Swiss is neutral territory                                          

but without the bullet-holes  this time

or just some raw flesh

with a charming garnish

you know

bring her along   too


We'll make a night of it--

a fright of it--

and the rockets' red glare

the bombs bursting in air 


Blonde Bombshells                                                            

brunettes redheads  deadheads

if they're still around   that is

(you fired your machine gun laugh)

A real party--

a Socialist Party

with red herrings

and my pasta ala pesto

Green Party manifesto

(Not to forget onion soup

sniff sniff

I blubbered)



we'll stay up late

only to  fade

into the suncontrollable light


so we can make Art

and Love

and wordless words

like ooh lala and lahdeedah


tell each other

beautiful lies     like

we'll meet again

but always in the next life


And  if

we should pass one another

on the edge of the Unknown--

the brink of unbearable being

we'll promise to nod

and look the other way

you said  you said

with your one arm missing--

your eyes-- two flashing fish

swimming in pools of blood--

to look the other way



if by chance

I said

you plunge your salty spear

into the random dictionary of my grief--

this life I live by rumor--

if by chance

should shuffling  one day

find you                                                                                                                                  

on a blind alley in Paris

in the urinal of Forget                                                                                                                                   

the fountainhead of Remember


pissing under

some other melting definition--

a bridge of  conjoined parentheses--

the footnote's crucifix of stars



pretend you don't know me

that I may recognize you at once

for the stranger that I am


know you 

by your ordinary ready-made smile

the one that bleeds offstage

in the unsung cacophony 

of your cabaret heart


know you

for your violation of syntax 

for your wanton obscurity

looking for a cafe  noir identity

to call its own


No one  not even

our literary movement

nor the crystal unconscious second hand emotion

of the astral ticking clock

can claim the iconic Nothingness of you

shattering every mirrored reflection

that has gone and come before you


Everybody is Nobody to Somebody

I sighed

(disguised as myself)



if by chance 

we should meet--

my friend--

in the middle 

                     of this sentence--

surely a life sentence sans paroles--

or between the bloodied wine-stained sheets 

on some other crumpled page   in time




come as you aren’t 


but come

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London–-publisher of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thoma, Henry Miller and Bob Dylan, to name a few.  After his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish.

A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. 

She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Joseph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Two Fascinating Poems by Bruce Hunter

Aria for Dante


In Italy, on Dante Alighieri Day,
glum news, over seven thousand souls now.
I seek my solace in the garden of this, my cold country,
as sleet turns to rain. Robin trills the dawn.
Back from Mexico for another year.
Spring’s sweet twerp in a jazzy red vest.

Outside the train station in Bologna
Not far from Torre Degli Asinelli
A line of green lorries of Esercito Italiano
wait under the streetlamps
to carry home the bodies of the beloved.

There is a hush over Tuscany.
This is only the beginning.
I worry after my friends from the villages:
Alice, Simone in Poggibonsi. Others
from Castellina, San Gimignano, Siena.

Where at dinner one night at a trattoria,
the old joke played on the tourist.
A giant pepper grinder left at my plate.
When I finally reach for it, out came their cell phones
and we all laughed. I’d been had. Again.
Walking at midnight in the moon’s sheen
on the cobblestones of Piazza del Campo.

Where the Contrades’ horses race a mad course
through these narrow streets in August.
Alice stops at the old Asylum
I should know this, she teases. But I do.
Crazy poets in a country where they love them.

Amongst marled hills the colour of pumpkins,
Chianti’s sweet soil for its noble wines.
Lavender winds in the region of Tuscany,
in the province of Siena,
in the comune of Monteriggioni,

behind the high stone wall with eleven towers.
On a quiet street, a bench below Dante’s words.
a traitor betrayed the village, burns in hell.
All our villages and bodies now,
towers no defense. Hell no longer allegorical.

In my sleepy garden, I rouse the soil with a spade.
Robin tiptoes behind me, copping worms
for his mate in the eaves.
Who leads me away. Too close,
too close, she cries.

I’m the gardener, I tell her,
who fills the feeder for your babies.
My whole life deaf, I hear all her songs now –
a miraculous coil planted in my cochlea
– her insistent squalls of joy at dawn.

Until the Palio runs again, crowds jostle and cheer,
we have this: raw earth, first rain, a nest.
Splendid notes. Spring’s first aria,
That, she has always sung.
Whether we hear her or not.



Aria per Dante


In Italia, nel giorno di Dante Alighieri,
notizie cupe, settemila anime adesso.
Cerco sollievo nel giardino di questo, mio paese freddo.
mentre il nevischio si fa pioggia. Il pettirosso gorgheggia all’alba.
Di ritorno dal Messico per un altro anno.
Felice idiota di primavera in una vivace livrea rossa.

Fuori dalla stazione ferroviaria di Bologna
Non lontano dalla Torre Degli Asinelli
Una fila di verdi camion dell’Esercito Italiano
attende sotto i lampioni
di riportare a casa i corpi dei cari.

C’è un silenzio sulla Toscana.
Questo è solo l’inizio.
Mi preoccupano i miei amici dai paesi:
Alice, Simone da Poggibonsi. Altri
da Castellina, San Gimignano, Siena.

Dove a cena una sera in trattoria,
il vecchio scherzo tirato al turista.
Un enorme macinino accanto al mio piatto.
Quando infine lo afferro, son saltati fuori i cellulari
e abbiamo riso tutti. Me l’hanno fatta. Di nuovo.
Nel passeggiare a mezzanotte allo splendore della luna
sui sampietrini di Piazza del Campo.

Dove i cavalli delle Contrade gareggiano in una folle corsa
per questi vicoli stretti ad agosto.
Alice si ferma al vecchio manicomio
Lo dovrei conoscere, prende in giro. Lo conosco, infatti.
Poeti folli in un paese dove li amano.

Tra le colline fasciate del colore delle zucche,
Il terreno dolce del Chianti per i vini pregiati.
Venti lavanda nella regione Toscana,
nella provincia di Siena,
nel comune di Monteriggioni,

dietro le alte mura in pietra dalle undici torri.
In un vicolo quieto, una panca sotto le parole di Dante.
un traditore tradì il paese, brucia all’inferno.
Tutti i nostri paesi e corpi ora,
torri senza difesa. Inferno non più allegorico.

Nel mio giardino dormiente, risveglio il terreno con una vanga.
Il pettirosso mi zampetta dietro, rifornendosi di vermi
per la compagna sulle gronde.
Che mi conduce lontano. Troppo vicino,
troppo vicino, lei lamenta.

Sono io il giardiniere, le dico,
che riempie la mangiatoia per i tuoi piccoli.
Sordo per tutta la vita, odo tutti i suoi canti ora –
una spirale miracolosa impiantatami nella coclea
– le sue urla insistenti di gioia all’alba.

Finché il Palio si fa ancora, le folle si accalcano ed esultano,
questo abbiamo: terra grezza, prime piogge, un nido.
Note splendide. La prima aria della primavera,
Che lei ha sempre cantato.
Che la si senta o no.

(traduzione di Angela Caputo)


Abstraction White Rose (1927) Georgia O’Keeffe

(for Lisa Stein)

The gardener never forgot the rose
in that art gallery years ago.
Blooms voluminous and inviting.
Painted by a brush dipped in clouds. Velvet entrance
and escape. Large as a table top.
O’Keeffe sees as he sees. And as he does in his work,
the gardener opens his palms
to cradle it. Until a guard cautions him.
Sir. Please. Do not touch the paintings.

To the gardener, A rose is not
a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
It is everything in everything. Upcurl of riptide.
Waterfall’s white lip. Conch’s pink mantle.
Miracle of eye, cornea. It’s all labia, throat and folds.
Vulva and stars, galaxies’ linen petals.
Within and beyond. A centre that gives
and comes from seed. Kiss’s wet hiss
in the slippery underbelly of night. Noir.

If you must lift them
cup the bud or the flower, at the cusp
gently. Be mindful of the thorns, always.
Their triangular blades can poison the blood
that feeds the heart and kill it.

His fingers brush against many small knives.
There is no fear in longing.
He’ll risk serving beauty one more time.
His eyes age-softened, and his lips too.
And at night when the trees sleep,
their fibrous heads in the ground,
they remember drought follows rain.

That at sunrise, his drowsy tongue laps dry air.
As the roses lift and reveal their thirst.
O’Keeffe is right. We emerge
from the turned-down underlip, breathless, blind.
Touched by dawn-sleek rosehips.
Delirious in all this raw new air.
to tipple again from a petaled cup.


Abstraction White Rose (1927) Georgia O’Keeffe
(per Lisa Stein) tradotto dall’autore

Il giardiniere non ha mai dimenticato la rosa
in quella galleria d’arte anni fa.
Fiorisce voluminosa e invitante.
Dipinta da un pennello immerso nelle nuvole. Ingresso di velluto
ed evasione. Grande come un piano d’appoggio.
O’Keeffe vede come vede lui. E come fa nel suo lavoro,
il giardiniere apre i palmi
per cullarla. Finché una guardia non lo avverte.
Signore. Per favore. Non tocchi i dipinti.

Per il giardiniere, una rosa non è
una rosa è una rosa è una rosa è una rosa.
È il tutto nel tutto. Ricciolo di marea.
Il labbro bianco della cascata. Il mantello rosa dello strombo.
Miracolo dell’occhio, cornea. È tutta labbra, gola e pieghe.
Vulva e stelle, petali di lino delle galassie.
Dentro e oltre. Un centro che dona
e viene dal seme. Il sibilo umido del bacio
nel viscido ventre della notte. Noir.

Se devi sollevarli
disponi il bocciolo o il fiore, con la cuspide
delicatamente. Sii attento alle spine, sempre.
Le loro lame triangolari possono avvelenare il sangue
che nutre il cuore e lo uccide.

Le sue dita sfiorano molti piccoli coltelli.
Non c’è paura nel desiderio.
Rischierà nel servire la bellezza ancora una volta.
I suoi occhi sono ammorbiditi dal tempo, anche le labbra.
E di notte quando gli alberi dormono,
le loro cime fibrose nel terreno,
ricordano che la siccità segue la pioggia.

Che all’alba, la sua lingua assonnata lambisce l’aria secca.
Mentre le rose si sollevano e rivelano la loro sete.
O’Keeffe ha ragione. Emergiamo
dal labbro inferiore rovesciato, senza fiato, ciechi.
Toccati da cinorrodi lucenti all’alba.
Deliranti in tutta questa nuova aria cruda.
per bere di nuovo da una tazza di petali.


Deafened as an infant, Bruce Hunter trained as an arborist and landscaper before attending university in his late twenties. His Two O’clock Creek – pomes new and selected, won the 2009 Peoples\ Poetry Award in Canada. His stories, articles and poems have appeared in more than 80 journals, blogs and anthologies in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., China, Romania, and Italy.

He is the author of five books of poetry, a collection of short stories and the novel, In the Bear’s House, which won the Canadian Rockies Prize at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, about a deaf boy who finds love and redemption in the in the rugged Canadian backcountry.

Story Of A Gnome - Wonderful Short Story by Ursula O'Reilly





 “Grandad, tell me about the Gnome.” I pleaded.

My grandfather had a singular talent for storytelling. All my life I had enjoyed listening to his tales of ghouls and adventure. But he had never divulged the story of the Gnome.

“Someday I will tell you” He would say. “When you are older,”

The old man was ninety years old today, and I was twenty-seven. We were seated in his small cottage, drinking hot whiskeys beside a crackling fire. “Come on, Grandad. It’s your birthday.”

Grandad wagged his finger at me. His eyes twinkled. 

“Very well!  But you mustn’t ask again. I will only voice this tale once...”  He sighed and leaned back against the well-stuffed cushions of his favourite armchair.

 Life on this earth is but a dream, lad. A story we tell ourselves.”  He gazed off into the distance.

“Sometimes, if we are lucky, we may wake from that dream for a moment. It is then we realize there is more, much more to reality than we ever imagined. That’s what happened to me the day I saw the Gnome.”

“A gnome, like in the garden?” I asked.

“No lad. Not like the garden gnome in your Ma’s yard.  No. Not like that.” I studied his craggy face and waited for him to continue.

“It was many years ago. I was a young man then, and your Ma was a baby. I was walking in a remote part of Drumgool Forest.  I used to do a bit of poaching then.

There was a place deep in the woods where no one would find you. A small clearing where the trees were ancient and bent.  A wild place. Full of unexpected corners and shadows.

Suddenly an eerie feeling came over me. I saw something move in the shadows. I raised my gun and turned, thinking it was a pheasant. Then I saw it. The creature. It was standing on an old tree stump watching me.”

“What was it, Grandad?”

“A small little man.  About a foot high, it was. Staring at me with a sneer on its face.” 

‘Ha! You can see me, can’t you?’ the creature yelled.

‘Yes I can see you’ I said. I took a deep breath and rubbed my eyes. The light in that place was peculiar. Misty with a green tinge. I looked again. The creature was still there.

‘What are you?’  I asked.

 ‘I am a Gnome.’ It laughed.  ‘Ha ha! And you are a Man!’  It pointed at me rudely, and rubbed its small round belly.

‘You don’t look like a gnome.’  I said.

‘Your kind have curious ideas about the small folk,’ he said. ‘Why, most of you don’t even know we exist. Call me what you will!’

The little fellow looked nothing like my idea of a gnome. Dressed in a suit of green and grey, of a material I had never seen before. Something between silk and spider web.

He wore a pointed little hat, and his skin was like wrinkled brown parchment. His eyes glinted bright green. His nose was the queerest of all, long and pointed like a twig. I had never encountered anything like him before.

‘What brings you to my homelands today, Edgar?’ he asked.

‘How do you know my name?’ I felt bemused. No one ever called me Edgar.  The only one who called me that was my grandmother who had died several years before.  Everyone I knew called me Eddie, and most thought that was short for Edward.

‘We small folk are much cleverer than your race, Edgar,’ the creature smirked. ‘We know 

many things.’

I stood staring at him. I had no idea what to say or do next.  ‘What do you want?’ I asked. My voice sounded childlike, unsure.

“Relax, Eddie,” the tiny man exclaimed. “Is it not good for you and I to simply enjoy this day? This is a rare occurrence, and a lucky one.’

My breathing became steady at that, and my heartbeat slowed a little. I gazed around the clearing. I noticed how thick the trees and bushes grew, creating a kind of canopy through which the sunlight struggled to enter.

Suddenly something moved in the undergrowth. I heard sounds. Whispering voices. Laughter. A shiver ran from the top of my spine to the soles of my feet.

 ‘What’s that?’  I looked at the gnome. He was laughing again, and hopping from one foot to the other.

 ‘Ha ha!  Hee hee hee!’

I looked again and saw hundreds of tiny faces pop from the bushes and undergrowth. Each face was different and unique. Some had wild expressions, some appeared calm and graceful, others looked like tiny old men. Their skin colour differed too .Multiple shades of yellow, blue, green and pink.

These curious entities did not leave the shelter of the bushes and trees, but stayed there smiling, whispering and laughing. 

‘Don’t be concerned, Eddie’ said the gnome. ‘Many of my people want to watch. They will not harm you.’

 ‘What do you want?’  I asked again. The gnome put his hands on his hips and stared at me. To my relief he smiled.

‘This is a good omen for you, Edgar. But you must think about what you say next.’

What could he mean? Was this some kind of trick? I began to rack my brain for everything I had ever heard about the little people. I thought about stories of fairy rings, wishes, pots of gold and rainbows.

‘Can I have your pot of gold?’ At this the gnome began to laugh hysterically, holding his belly and bent almost double.

 ‘I am a gnome, Eddie.’ He blurted through gasps. ‘Not a leprechaun!’ I felt my face redden. I had never enjoyed being the butt of a joke. 

 It was beginning to get dark in the clearing. I was aware of the faces watching from the shadows. I looked for the path I had taken, but could not see it. A wave of fear ran through me. I thought again of the fairy stories. Wishes. Yes, that had to be it.

‘You must grant me tree wishes!’  I said. The gnome turned his head to the side, and clapped his little hands.

‘Well done, my friend,’ he said. ‘This is a fortunate day for you. I have enjoyed our chat, and I will grant you a wish. But only one wish, Eddie. So think carefully.’ 

I stared at the creature, overwhelmed at my good luck. What would I wish for? I thought of all the things I had ever wanted and longed for. Money, a mansion to live in, cars, holidays…

But what did I really want?  My life had been good so far. I had married the woman of my dreams, had started my carpentry business, and had a beautiful child. I had always been strong and healthy.

We could use more money, who couldn’t?  I was tempted to ask for that. Then I thought of our child.

Our darling Annie was three months old.  She was beautiful, but she was small and sickly. ’Failing to thrive’, it was called in those days.  My wife, Betty, tried every remedy to keep her strong and safe.

I knew what I would wish for. I looked at the gnome. He was smiling broadly. He knew my wish before I could say it.

‘You have chosen well, Eddie,’ he said. ‘Go home and take with you the love of the little folk! Farewell.’ “Grandad had a sweet smile on his face. His eyes shone.

“What happened next?”  I asked. The old man took a sip of whiskey.

“I don’t remember what happened next, but I found myself lying on the path, dazed and bewildered.  I recalled all that had occurred in the clearing. It felt a bit like a dream, but I knew for certain it had happened. I got to my feet and headed for home”

“What about the wish, Grandad?” 

 “From that very day, your Ma, baby Annie, started to get stronger and put on weight. To this day, she has never had any problems with her health. Everything improved after that. The business thrived; our children were strong and healthy.  We had many wonderful happy years.”

“You think it was because of the Gnome, Grandad?”

“Oh, yes.” Grandad smiled. “The day I met him, my luck turned for the better.”

He turned to me and winked.  “How about another of those whiskeys, lad?”


Ursula O’Reilly lives in County Cavan, Ireland, and writes poetry and short stories. Her other interests include painting and walking in nature.  Ursula has had poetry and fiction published in Poetry Plus magazine,Woman’s Way magazineDrumlin magazine(Ireland), and by Earlyworks Press.

Five Poems by Geoff Sawers


In that darkened room where you beheld
the moon full in the mirror
I begged you not to cross between.

There is a pattern in this garden
I have heard but never seen for myself
one day we shall find the fountain at the centre.

But I am afraid. Each night I climb
to the attic window and pull back the curtain
to see the maze from above

and each night I draw my breath and look
on something I have never seen before.

The Edge of the World

Shivering, he wakes
a carpet of fading stars.

Skips down the shore
each morning
to wait for the setting sun.

Like A Bear Bent Over A Cello

It had been a long long time
and when I got down to the valley again
Spring was on the turn
each burbling stream flagged
with a splatter of iris yellow
a cormorant spread
flickering on the water
and a movement in the distance
like a hand withdrawn into shadow

Queen Takes Knight

From bread & bed & candlelight
to the peewit's lonely cry.

A buzzing forever in his ears
a few acres of foreign sky.

But the lemon on its branch is
purest gold. Don't ask why.

Queen Proserpina Speaks

'It lies in a dark secluded valley,
steep-sided and thick-mossed and few
ever penetrate that tangle, to the clear rill that runs below.

The shadows will gather like rain clouds
as you swing down from the path into that crack
carved into the land but not with human hands

and blackbirds chatter alarm as you push through. Hold on,
go down, go down, there is a holm-oak in this valley
in the deepest thick of the scrub

one branch of which glows with a pale light,
like white gold it glows, even in the dark of winter.
This branch you must bring to me,' she said, was silent, and I went.

Geoff Sawers published a lot in the early 2000s, then spent 15 years as a house-husband raising 3 children and didn't submit work anywhere, but has just begun again. He has new work forthcoming in Obsessed With Pipework, Sarasvati and Seventh Quarry. He lives in Reading.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

One Wonderful Poem by John Patrick Robbins


Ode To A Norse Witch


Sea and riddles cast the tides to unearth.

The truth that nature is the only true God.


As the Godess is our mother, man needs balance.

As sails need winds, time must know legend .


And daughters of earth are the flame of our existence.

She walks between realms, breathing life to the worn.


Soul within ancient truths may breathe new tales to fire’s light.

To God and Goddess, love knows no end as does life.


Breathe eternal daughter of this realm.

John Patrick Robbins, is The editor in chief of the Rye Whiskey Review.

His work has appeared here at Lothlorien Poetry Journal,  Fearless Poetry Zine, Fixator Press, Horror Sleaze Trash,  Piker Press, Red Fez, The Dope Fiend Daily, Medusa's Kitchen, San Antonio Review. 

One Poem by Lynn Long

The day she stopped believing in dragons

Light hid in the shadows

For the sun once so bright

fell from the sky

And the moon hung low

Descending deep into the 

ebony sea ...where dreams,

were but mere wishes upon

the Nile flowing no more

And trees bend in silent


To the darkness

Guided by memories of old

Illuminated only

in the heartbeat

of a lone star-

never giving up hope

the dragon still soars

In search of home

Lynn LongPoet, writer, dreamer  and believer in the impossible… Residing somewhere in time

Artist at

With published pieces in various online publications, journals, E-zines and anthologies



Four Fabulous Poems by J.D. Nelson


this was the lake at the top of the trail


I was at the lake

when the water was low


there were earth birds

gulls and crows



the light was full

and there was a breeze


the lake light

and the wind               the window


the high sun and the lovely breeze

the smell of lake in the sand


learning to love sleep in the garden


what was that?

a silver shadow

seeking in the margins


a peel back

a pool bop

of the oval

a swum


it was a make-a-cake kind of day


we have the storm in a jar

miniature lightning bolts


why is not a candle

the burning end of pock?


soon, reggae james or jams could come running down the mountain


do you have all of your paperwork and poetry?

another antler for showing up with the dark tornado


the cockroaches were juggling ice cubes

no, that wasn’t the reason the poems ate the earth


leave the equipment behind and eat the earth naturally

I become the particle ant, that master insect


the money machine is eating the earth

words to write poetry like a bear in the jungle


there was a body of the lord in the stars for ten days

and there is a miracle clown in the dishes now


crayon breath for most of the morning

a wedding cake with a real diamond centre for the kids

there were bugs in my food today and I liked them

that means nothing to the people in the dirty air


frog monikers


and you don’t go to see the sure ship of the togger with ronson


the police have the stars in a jar at the bar

the points of the stars are sharp

and tiny beams shoot down to the earth


everyone learns the hand of the way

to learn the earth is another wall of the action


roam the grounds like a hound


J.D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. His poetry has appeared in many small press publications, worldwide, since 2002. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). His first full-length collection, entitled in ghostly onehead, is slated for a 2021 release by mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press. Visit for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado, USA.

One Superb Poem by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Beautiful Lies                                Don't be a stranger ! you said Just come as you are if I'm still around th...