Friday 31 December 2021

Five Fabulous Poems by Shine Ballard

a woe inured


Who was he to never love me,

or he who loved so pure?

How dare i do so in fear be?

How cruel a woe inured—




this feels like a waste

of thirtysevenfifty. lucre

we could have leavened else

where, betterleveraged. put on some

thing other than my teetering

caprices. being good enough is

just not. why, as a novice,

can i not be more master

ful? abecedarian aspiration.

when tomorrow is a blank

space, unimagined, what time

is there—for waiting?

you, you

but a reader. hubristic seer. you

may penetrate interstices, but without

stitchedmargins, your desires

would never pore pages. withheld. with

out. blank, balked breadths. so, sit.

still quiet, discerning. knowing

you've no allay for my agitation.

impatience. a thing never diagnosed,

no! not ever. only endured.


much time should i set aside for

learning something as sudden as

a severingedge?

sonofabitch! i paid for the soaking

stone that i might better slice

through stone

fruit, amongst

the many things i may. this life,

so very involved with waste.




what then of inquiry

from which nothing

is learned—nothing taught?

neither student, nor teacher.

an estrangement acute.

what lessens the incalculable?

should one amend the sum?

fail safe for the insuperable,

a supposition where equation fails.

some data are too stark to be rounded—


in which case,

it’s reckoned





Post dozing, in a partial state, i perceive your

abiding allure. A distance of tables between, i climbed

atop and drug myself along their edges, through

the tenebrism, toward you & your shadow. echo.

The two of you weren't frightened, simply confused.

Chairs caromed aside, i smiled—clumsily closer.

noNCompanion smiling, until finally i arrived, the final

chair knocked from the table. Your shadow, serene yet

puzzled, notknowing, but you—stillbeautiful—knew me,

not knowing. What a shame you never loved me,

only ever seeing me               awkward. Not nearing

normally. This face grinning with stupidlove—





The walk : winter falls, springing, tired,

summer stumbles, falling. The pedestrian

breeze soundily locates one shoreside—


The wind, as waves, lapping indifferent.



Perched before

the door, chattering—

an instinctual somatic saccade—

as the pileatedwoodpecker

sticks its semi's. As metronome :

bodies making, doing as instinct


Shine Ballard, the dégagé-dabbler, currently creates and resides on this plane(t). 


Four Sublime Poems by Jason Ryberg

Beginning the Ritual 


Another weirdly warm Winter’s day:

seventy-two degrees here in December


(and if December ain’t supposed to be

Winter then I don’t know what is),


and the wind is moving all the

fallen leaves around in big scoopfuls

of varying shapes, densities, volumes

and masses, from one front yard

to another,


up and down the street, then back again

(wherever they might happen to drop

and settle for the moment), if only just briefly,

before beginning the whole ritual over,


once more, moving it all about

in synchronized layered patterns,

like massive flocks of redwing blackbirds

and starlings, or better yet:


schools of tropical fish that somehow

managed to escape the water

and fly. 



A Moment of Clarity 


Just a worn-down and twisted spoon

trying to take a break from the thankless

and exhausting job of measuring out all

the moments of our lives, both

little and large, good or bad.


Just an old, dusty

cobb-webbed whiskey bottle

(its wild, hell-raising days

long behind it now)

sitting in the middle of

a bare dining room table,


a shrivelled spider in its belly,

a glow in the dark skull ring

wrapped around its neck,

a single plastic rose poking up

through its mouth and out

into the wide, weird world.


And then there is this ancient

wooden chair, barely holding together

under the strain of its own weight,

like high school, somebody says,

like church, says somebody else,


or maybe a little more

like the kind of chair ‘one would find,

next to the back-alley door

of an all-night diner, in which

many souls have sat for

a much-needed smoke break

over the years.


Hangin’ Out at the Git and Go 


The moon tonight

is the lone pink sodium street light

of one more no name, gas station /

grain elevator town with no bar,

no diner, no movie theater

(since 1980-something),


nothing to do on a Friday

or a Saturday night but get

into trouble in some other town

the next county over, or hang out

at the Git and Go, here,


and watch a few cars passing through,

sometimes some outta town types

pull in to gas up and walk around a while,

stretching and joking,


asking themselves, each other

and, finally, one of us


where the hell are we? 



A Place to Crash 


I went to the porch

thinking I would see rain but

instead it was the


wind blowing the last

of the leaves of the season

out of the trees (still


stubbornly clinging

to their branches) and out in-

to the wider world


to find a place to

crash and lay low ‘til things calmed

down a little, now


that Old Man Winter

(that mean, old bastard) was back

from his over the


road gig and just might

be thinking about hanging

around for a while. 



Jason Ryberg is the author of fourteen books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection of poems is Are You Sure Kerouac Done It This Way!? (co-authored with John Dorsey, and Victor Clevenger, OAC Books, 2021). He lives part-time in Kansas City, MO with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

















Three Poems by Karen Kerekes




moments we are given

fragile and fleeting

to illuminate

within our time

as we breathe and yearn

and grieve and learn

with quiet beauty

therein to find


among days short-lived

each story is written

upon pages undefined

for all to hold

and intricately mould

into a masterpiece

of our own unique design


moments lived

and left behind,

the fondest of which

we will reminisce

from the treasury within

our mind’s eye, as we

linger in their bliss


moments that blaze

like shooting stars

then vanish instantly

from the boundless sky,

with worth only measured

by the brilliance reflected

in the stardust we leave behind

Tree Of Life        


a tree is planted

humble and graceful

it stands,

boughs stretch

upwards as

roots grasp

earth’s rich, dark soil

the eternal foothold

that breathes new life


awakening buds blossom

eager to bask beneath

sunlight’s warm rays

and misty morning showers


slender limbs unfold

into nature’s sanctuary

where squirrels scurry

and bird’s nest among

weathered, weeping arches


canopies tower

rendering shadows

of shaded refuge,

while leaves dance

wistfully overhead


and gentle rustlings

caress my skin

as I glance


amid majesty

and wonder    


from The Maker’s hand


beneath the rubble

and lingering darkness

smouldering embers

spark shreds of

shimmering light

that will lead us through

this solemn night


dawn’s sunlight streams

through cloudy skies

mending remnants from

yesterday’s sorrows

as warm rays caress

delicate arms

that will embrace



evening sunsets

bring cooler breezes

that usher in new,

and changing seasons,

sweeping fragments left behind

to clear the path forward

for humankind


and laughter still echoes

from sacred spaces

where children rise

beyond the realm

of raging storms

unearthing gentle


in all they see,

imagining a world

as it could be


that we may live

and thrive

for we are here

and still survive

Karen Kerekes enjoys writing poetry that provides hope and optimism during difficult times, focusing on gratitude and the joy that can be found in nature and the simple things in life.



Thursday 30 December 2021

One Superb Poem by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


The Crossing 


In a year of uncertainty and rush to judgment

I question the validity of midnights

and other deadlines I must cross

Bridges are meant

for joining two worlds

for comings and goings

for making that connection…

but you can't live your Life in suspension

or deny the Source    it's flow


If you want to make a real connection

consider your neighbour opposite you

and extend yourself

You can build a bridge on just one breath

if your spirit is strong and true.


You and I without words

are already in conversation

You and I are more than

water under the bridge


In a year of shifting currents   and torturous turns–

I am a river   And everything

that comes and goes

that rises and falls

that turns and returns

moves inside of me

I travel with the sun

and by the light of the moon

who wanders like a gypsy

along the riverbanks of her mind

while I hold the Mirror


I am water   blessed with healing   thicker than blood    

and in communion with all things

I talk with the birds and the wind in the trees

and the heavens reflected above

I sing myself into oceans

and dance on clouds in the valleys below


You and I without words

are deep in conversation

We meet in the flow–

between the rising and falling of each breath.

In the flow–

between the rising and falling of rain

In one drop of water…after it falls…

before it drops away…at the still-point–

where all things are reflected

In that moment of transcendence   where

everything still is moving and

everything moving is still

Even Time   as it ripples across your face

and dissolves    as in a mist or in a dream


In a year of uncertainty and rush to judgment

I turn to you    In you

I long to see my own reflection–

my one true face that waits for me

in a place beyond my longing

In you

I long to hear my one true voice

that carries with it   

all the ancient voices

all the streams of consciousness

who have passed this way before–

my mother’s mother my father’s father–

all who have carried me here to you


In a year of uncertainty and rush to judgment

I am my own defining moment

moving forward with the certainty

that I am not the same person I was an hour ago

My heart is a river    And   like a river

I cannot enter myself in the same way twice

I carry your river in mine–one heartbeat at a time.

This is the kiss at midnight

this is the moment that counts--

my mouth as wide as the sky

my heart a vessel emptying into an Unseen Universe


I am a river

and I make this crossing… with you

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 Thomas, Henry Miller and Bob Dylan, to name a few.  his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish.  A nominee for the Pushcart Prize and a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (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.  Her collected poems On the Way to Invisible is forthcoming in 2022.


Six Poems by R. W. Stephens

  Like Extended Haiku       Tango music muted , o pen window    Fading summer light s hadows   C hair on the porch   An empty glass       ...