Sunday 26 September 2021

Three Poems by John Doyle


Trains Passing Through French and Belgian Towns Late at Night



   gathers up neon 

     waltzing from tongues 

       like Betjeman is

         sleeping beside me,


             a moniker for

               dusky mushroom vines

                 lingering under night,

                   and I turn

                     to a nuclear

                       family beside me 

                         dated by a 



tattered school-book 

 from maybe 1975                    

  first showing me  

   what France and

    Belgium looked like,

     in trains passing 

      late at night

       through towns with

        names swollen on

         Pye radio frequencies



Gas pipes 

are broken collarbones 

in pick-axe streets 


where the guy in shoes

no man under 60 should wear

wants to cure people 


of their communism and their sodomy.

The stained glass windows of St. Mary's 

finger finks like pebbles hiding in milk,


sneaking away on their bicycles

their guts trash

like a shroud against a typhoon

The Journey of the Proton Through Mass Production and Global Consumerism


Secretly - I like to read Thom Gunn - 

after darkness falls like cheap airline jets and poisoned flies;


before dawn it's Sexton and Plath

last sighted on a cargo-plane 

above Harare,







they think I'm a spy I'll be one, 

(howzat grab ya?)


for Mossad, 


the Shriners


and the 




of  Kyrgyzstan.

Numerous possibilities exist in marketing right now,

the iron’s hot and it's time to strike.


Tighten that tie, you son of a bitch,

in my previous life it was a noose 



on a gallows in Cheyenne

(or Shy-Anne as I called her, her sister Betty, well she wasn't that great either),


and I piss a cup of Joe

standing by the water-cooler

sharing the secrets of tarot cards


and golf weekends

and Bud and Lou fighting back-stage in 1949.

But how do they fit the figs in the fig rolls?


was all I heard them say that first day

in Marketing 101.

And opening the 18th floor window to a Roger Waters 



I took flight, jacket off

and tie slapping my face in a cross-wind cruising over the bay.


Hong Kong was in all its glory

and the number count of protons

holding the world economy together


coming in at 15,894 digits across the slimy scales

of the stock market

raping penniless widows


across the tumours of the horizon. 

Whoops big fella, 

easy on the Miracle Whip,


you may end up with a coronary 

instead of a knife to your throat.

After they scraped me


from the sidewalk

they took my Thom Gunn away, screaming like a loveless baby;

they cut through his spine like an old Saxon road


and counted every 




and atom welding as one their dreams 

of Ferraris, 

cocaine and poontang.






threw dandelions 

on my grave,

took a taxi


straight to the airport. Could’ve been a whole lot worse 

I guess, like poor cousin Leslie

lying on the floor in ‘72


writhing with the ungrounded microphone

and the guitar like Dante in his other hand,

Mama Cass


and her heart 

about to burst in the claggy London heat.

All they did to me was send me to the gallows yet again, hoping to get it right this time.

John Doyle - is from County Kildare in Ireland. He returned to writing poetry in February 2015 after a gap of nearly 7 years. Since then he's had 6 poetry collections published, with a 7th collection, "Isolated Incidents" due to be released by Pski's Porch in Summer 2021. Best of the Net nominee 2021.

Three Poems by Amita Paul aka Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia




Yugen 1

Dull Gold and Charcoal


A dull gold night with charcoal shadows

The streaks of clouds across Night’s tear-stained face 

Cradling a veiled crescent of August Moon 

Such that one only sees its aureate light 

Unless one stares intensely : the clouds move 

For the wind moves them , but

Who moves the travelling Moon 

That has no wings or feet nor its own light 

Should one see the Sun in the light of that Crescent

Swaying like a cradled babe in its cloud hammock ?

Who rocks the Moon to sleep ? 


Meanwhile , the Sky 

Sheds Dewdrop tears 

And Night Flowering Jasmines 

Lift up their fragrant faces like gold cups

To receive their elixir . 


The World is full of Wars : should one be sad ?

For here in solipsistic cocooned being

Is Peace - that passeth Understanding.



Yugen 2 

Snow on Snow in a Fir Forest


Snow lay deep on the high rolling hills 

All traces of life buried far beneath

It’s soft thick layered blanket of some weeks

Only a few heads of the tallest spruces

Fir trees and pines poked out from its expanse

But they too were enveloped in the swirl

Of freshly falling snow from a grey sky 

Not even sky but air so thick with flakes

It looked like heavens had dissolved in snow-mist

So all-pervasive was the long snowfall

Shrouding the sun whose presence was more felt,

Than seen, in a faint surreal cold light

That told one it was day not eve or night

And soon only the nearest four or five 

Fir trees remained visible to the sight

The further ones hidden by bridal veils

Of ever thicker and yet luminous mist. 

Somewhere beneath are hidden berry bushes

Mosses and ferns and rocks and shrubs and grass

Somewhere close by are sheltered moose and elk

And deer and snowshoe hare and vole and chipmunk

Goshawk woodpecker vulture nuthatch jay

Mossed umber moth and monarch butterfly

Waiting, waiting, waiting, for warm days to return .


Science explains the fall of rain and snow

Direction and momentum of the wind

The formation of rocks craters and lakes 

The evolution of species of plants 

And mammals ; even the shape 

Of every unique snowflake 


But what explains the wonder and the awe

The sense of something near and yet unknown 

That this near blankness , falling white on white

This long drawn out holding of green life’s breath 

Evokes in viewers hearts without a sound

In muffled silence held as in a trance

Waldensamkeit of fir forest in snow

With more snow falling , hour upon hour

Day after day, weaving in winter months

To cosmic time , to texture of existence 

To what was ever so , and is , and yet

Of something ever more about to be ?



Yugen 3 

Who knows why Roses ? 


Roses, big blowsy ones, maroon, and red,

Mauve, magenta, pink, apricot, peach 

Yellow, cream and white, 

sprinkled with spices and drops of musk

Left to fade in a pale blue ceramic bowl,

Their damask petals wrinkling like old silk

Fragile as worn out muslin , edges dry

And dark and crumbly as slowly singed paper 

Were left to make pot pourri, but for whom ?

The maker herself ? As gift for a friend ? 

As memento for an estranged lover ? 

Who knows ?

Who knows why roses bloom and why they fade ? 

Who knows who made them as they are and why 

Before they came to be bred in new forms ? 

Who knows why we find in them beauty ?

Who knows why they tug at the heart ?

Who knows why they enchant the sight and smell ?

Who knows why roses make men melt and women smile, or weep, or smile through tears ? 

Who knows why roses can’t be thrown away ? 

Who knows why they were made and made so lovely ? 

Who knows why roses ?


Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia is one of the various pen names used by Punjab-born, Patna-based retired Indian bureaucrat Amita Paul , for her original writings in different genres, in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi, featured in various anthologies, journals, and online poetry writing forums.

She was awarded the NISSIM International Poetry Award for 2019 for her contribution to English Poetry, and the Reuel International Prize for 2020 for Non-Fiction for her Experimental Prose plus Multi-Media Anthology, ‘The Saaqi Chronicles’. Destiny Poets, Wakefield, UK declared her Poet of the Year 2020, and also Critic of the Year 2020, an unprecedented coincidence.

Her more recent work can be seen in ‘Impressions and Expressions’, a 2021 anthology of international poetry edited by Oman-based poet, Amita J.Singhvi, on Spillwords, in GloMag August 2021 and in the Yugen Quest Review , April and August 2021.

Three Poems by Mihaela Melnic


A Glance From Afar

I'm enraptured by those seated
on top of a diamonded world
with a nimbus of Mars around
their heads
deftly maneuvering the threads
with Lokean skills
- dear Lords of deceit -
but you know
they are neither saints nor gods.

Is it a farce meant to thrill or bewitch?
I just emerged from my chrysalis stage
and I lithely float in the air.

If I allowed to be wooed and pierced in my wing
would it be a love sting?
Would my ichor implore for some more?

Would my diaphanous thoughts become blurred?
Would the venom survive in my cells
for too long?

Utterance with omission
is so fashionable
but undoubtedly charming
if seen from afar.


Like Death In Old Age

The thought of you slips over me
like rain over rocks
like water from bottle to glass

impassive and sinuous
naturally, like death in old age

My heart knows no more the wild beat
when shades of your existence
cross my mind today

although something still gnaws
at the memories door

nothing consumed though
except a candle's wax


Seven Veils

Your words are engaged in the dance
of the seven veils
on the tip of your tongue

No wonder that
my mouth takes a baffled shape
and I end up humming
whimsical hymns
as I slip down the stream of
Kubla Khan
half aware of every pose of my body
with my senses not yet fully numbed
like a druggie
as my garland limbs gird your neck
depriving you of will
and flowers open up their voluptuous petals in the sun

It only takes one ray, one word
wisely placed like a bet
to produce the unfathomable
unique disclosure
of all senses

Mihaela Melnic lives and writes in Rome, Italy, where her prose and poetry evolve and take different shapes with every new life experience.

Her recent work has appeared or are forthcoming in various venues, including Dissident Voice, Transcendent Zero Press and Alien Buddha Press. Her latest work is the book "Evermore" written in co-authorship and released in September 2021 through 17Numa Press. 

Saturday 25 September 2021

Five Poems by CL Bledsoe


Bring Out Your Dead


A woman goes from bed to bed,

each night, pulling her cart. “Bring

out your dead,” she says. Workers wake,

shuffle to the window, where

she’s squared up to receive

what they dump. One drops the last time

he skinny dipped with his cousin,

before they learned shame. That

cousin is dead now, or a corporate

lawyer. Another, his hands, stained

with charcoal and paper cuts, paint

under the nails, palms smudged. Leaving

them clean and soft. At each house,

the bodies pile up, eyes brighter

than those who collapse back

into bed. Tomorrow is a big

day. The Kowalski Report. Traffic.


A Moon Bear Named Carl


I went outside to catch the moon

bear as it fell. My first mistake.

Imagine fur so thick wind sheer

gave up and went over to its friend

Dave’s house to complain. The softest

murder, the warmest throat rend.


I was trying to be of use. I watched


it slip, through my homemade

telescope. Stumbling home from

the bar. Too much pickled salmon

and mead. It tripped, fell clean

across a crater, bounced off a distracted

seal in the Sea of Tranquility,


and ricocheted toward DC. Bright


honey trail oozing across the sky.

Arms out, elbows braced, I aimed

my hope for its squirming belly

to keep the greedy ground wanting.

I needed a fourth for bridge. Now,

I only need a second and third. 


Eating the Sun


Who among us hasn't eaten the sun

just to hurry things up? An existential

sort of palate cleanser. Outrunning

the wolves requires exceptional

hamstrings. And then what will they

eat? Sometimes, you have to take

the bad with the worse and be glad

there isn’t pudding. Some people,

all they have is a vanity plate and

a list of demands no one will ever

read. Present company avoided.

It’s not the fur that makes you sneeze,

it’s knowing that nothing will ever

taste as good as your heart. I don’t

mind sharing as long as you take

me dancing, after. Really, just a

glance in my direction every now

and then to keep me focused. A man

will walk into an empty room and

knock just so no one thinks he’s

there for nefarious reasons. The truth

is, he’s there for the candy dish.

The way footsteps on wood distract

from the slowing heart. I wonder if

the hardest part of getting the sun down

is knowing everything after will be

dark and cold, the wolves howling,

still able to track you by scent while

you stumble, arms thrown out, trying

to find something firm to rest against.  


Ersatz Chemistry


A meaningless topic of conversation,

a mostly believable laugh, various pitches

of huhs. This is how my days bleed out,

dying in the soil. Someone has found

a really exciting brand of butter. Mornings

are the hardest time of year. Don’t think

too much about how you’ll spend more

time with these people than with your own

family, your couch, whatever it is you love.

You have no reasonable choice.

A grownup learns to master the art of not

screaming in the elevator. How much time,

per week, do you put into thinking about

decorative soaps, a new recipe whose

ingredients you can’t pronounce, the void

waiting outside those glass windows

into which we are throwing the precious

hours of our lives because it’s the path

of least resistance?


Good Things


Everyone will tell you to wait, but

none of them will tell you to get

ready while you wait. Do some

stretches. Take a class on financial

literacy. Learn to be someone you

can stand. When love comes, it will

spill its coffee on your shirt in an

elevator, so always carry those

detergent markers for stains. You’ll

be trudging along trying to be

thankful for the overdraft fees when

a leaf slaps you just right and your

eyes rest on someone who’s just

dropped their book in traffic. Rush

to help them and hope to God it’s

not Atlas Shrugged. All of this is

a lie, of course. Love comes as

they’re lowering her into the grave.

As he pulls the door quietly behind

him, wishing you good luck next

time. As the sun shadows over their

heads while they hold hands

somewhere you’ve never been.

Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, Grief Bacon, and his newest, Driving Around, Looking in Other People's Windows, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and the forthcoming The Saviors.

Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here:

His own blog, Not Another TV Dad, is located here:

He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.


One Poem by Howie Good


Crown of Creation


Today I saw two butterflies mate in mid-air,

the male clasping the female to his underbody

as they flew bright circles around me, and now

I think I know why they’re called monarchs.

Howie Good is the author of the prose poetry collection FAMOUS LONG AGO, forthcoming from Laughing Ronin Press.


Friday 24 September 2021

Three Poems by Michael La Bombarda




Even before Andy Warhol

Made me famous,

I was famous

And I am famous still.

I am the apple

Of every mother’s eye

And my contents

Have been consumed

By all Americans,

Especially in the winter.


Whatever you may say of Andy,

He knew a good thing

When he found one

And painted me

In the bright colors

You had known to recognize

But had never seen

Until he hung them

Within a frame

In a gallery.


If only I would have thought

Of it myself,

I’d be both immortal

And rich.

Can you see the headlines,

Soup Can Paints Self-Portrait?





My pursuit

Of Marguerite

Has always been my pursuit

Of my mother tongue,


Even when I spilled out

My feelings for her

In torrents of stammering


I was unable to do it in French

But in the monosyllabic-friendly






In brown hair

And brown eyes

Is the embodiment

Of my Gallic quest

For enlightenment,

Whether cerebral

Or carnal.

I find her pretty,

As she remains in my eye

Always eighteen years old,

The last time I saw her.

When I read French

I think of her sometimes,

Though lately

I think of what I’m reading,

So Marguerite has served her purpose.

She has given me back my mother tongue,

Which is not meant to be exploitative,

But to be grateful for my gift.



Like a white flake of snow

Dissolving into water,

The image persisting—


Your boat sailed into the horizon

And was gone from view

As the water kept vigil.


Resurrected by memory

From many years past,

You disappeared in shame of infidelity.


Now my life is split terracotta--

The deep and jagged cracks

Running in my copper urn.


Michael La Bombarda - is a poet and fiction writer. He is retired and lives in New York City. He has published in Publlic Illumination Magazine, Danse Macabre, Yellow Chair, Kiss My Poetry, Oddball Magazine, and First Literary Review East, and the Landmark, and has two books of poetry published, Steady Hands and A Lover’s Complaint, both with Chez Michel Press,his own press. 

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...