Sunday 31 October 2021

Five Exquisite Poems by Yuan Changming


Tuner: for Qi Hong


While still in Mayuhe on the other

Side of this world, you somehow gave me

An air-tuner, supposedly to help me

Learn erhu, the violin with only two strings

As a re-educated youth during the Cultural

Revolution, which you somehow asked me

To return to you before I took my long journey

Towards the West

     (Like the monkey king?)


Now almost half a century

Later, I forget how to play the instrument

But I can still sing my youthful song of

Love in perfect tune with your chuckles

Like a kite whose string remains in

Your hand however far or high

I have been flying

Reach out in Yearning: for Qi Hong


From the heart of night I look high up &

Spot two particular stars twinkling at me

            As lovingly as your eyes beyond the horizon


On a beach rock, I howl aloud

Towards the whole pacific, & hear an echo

            From your call like a lost whale


Amid summer raindrops, I shoot my thought of you

Down through the earth, & feel a deep tremor

            Vibrating on the other side of this world

All Day Long: for Li Lan


More adaptable than a summer stream  

No less wild than a wild west wind


My missing for you can flow & blow

Without leaving a single trace behind 


Like the water or the whirl, like all that

   Has no shape has no shadow

Unrequited Love


You are the tall mountain across the valley

That ever remains as silent as the sky

Except the echo of my own calls & songs

Man’s Last Position


Against all the hardships of life is held

In the very depth of his heart, where

Hides a vivid portrayal of some woman

Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from Credits include Pushcart nominations besides appearances in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others. Recently, Yuan published his eleventh chapbook Limerence, and served on the jury for Canada's 44th National Magazine Awards (poetry category).




One Poem by Vijay Nair



You outgrew the leaves

Of the album, and the lyrics

Of childhood songs - -


Now, you speak

With the clarity

Of black and white photographs - -


Hand on hip, your pin-up poster look

Remains unchanged, your lovely face

Beyond the touch of Photoshop - -


Time stands still at the blue

Or golden hour

Weary but waiting


To serve your portfolio

And your will - -

Tongues are silent


When the lens speaks:

Even candid or close-up shots

Cannot frame your hidden thoughts.

Vijay Nair - is retired as Associate Professor, Department of English, Government Victoria College Palakkad, Kerala. He taught English Language and Literature in various colleges for 31 years. His Ph.D. thesis was on the plays of Wole Soyinka. He was awarded the Reuel International Prize for Writing & Literature in the year 2016 and was ‘Critic of the Year’ in 2016, 2017 & 2018 at Destiny Poets, UK and also ‘Poet of the Year’ in 2018 in the same poetry group. His poems have been  nominated on 8 occasions as ‘Poem of the Month’ at Poets, Artists Unplugged. Three of his poems have been included in the PG syllabus of BBMK University, Dhanbad. His short stories have appeared in Dynami Zois [Virasat] and The Road Taken [Impish Lass].

Four Poems by Michael Lee Johnson


Witchy Halloween

Inside this late October 31st night,

this poem turns into a pumpkin.

Animation, something has gone

devilishly wrong with my imagery.

I take the lid off the pumpkin’s head

light the pink candles inside.

Demons, cry, crawl, split, fly outsides —

escape, through the pumpkin’s eyes.

I’m mixed in fear with this scary, strange creation.

Outside, quietly tapping Hazel the witch,

her broomstick against my window pane rattles.

She says, “nothing seems to rhyme anymore,

nothing seems to make any sense,

but the night is young.

Give me back my magical bag of tricks.

As Robert Frost said:

   “But I have promises to keep,  

   And miles to go before I sleep.”

Poets Out of Service


Like a full-service gas station

or postal service workers

displaced, racing to Staples retail

for employment against the rules of labor,

poets are out of business nowadays, you know.

Who carries a loose change in their pockets?

Who tosses loose coins in their car ashtray anymore?

iPhones, smartphones, life is a video camera

ready to shoot, destroy, and expose.

No one reads poets anymore. 

No one thumbs through the yellow pages anymore.

Who has sex in the back seat of their car anymore,

just naked shots passed around online?

Streetwalkers, bleach blonde whores,

cosmetic plastic altered faces in the neon night;

they don’t bother to pick pennies

or quarters off the streets anymore.

The days of surprise candy bags for a nickel

pennies lying on the countertop for

Tar Babies, Strawberry Licorice Laces

(2 for a penny), Wax Lips, Pixie Sticks,

Good & Plenty are no more.

Everyone is a dead-end player; he dies with time.

Monster technology destroys crump fragments of culture.

Old age is a passive slut; engaging old age

conversations idle to a whisper and sleep alone.

Matchbox, hand-rolled cigarettes,

serrated, slimmed down, and gone.

Time is a broken stopwatch gone by.

Life is a defunct full-service gas station.

Poets are out of business nowadays.


Deep in my Couch


Deep in my couch 

of magnetic dust,

I am a bearded old man.

I pull out my last bundle 

of memories beneath

my pillow for review.

What is left, old man,

cry solo in the dark.

Here is a small treasure chest

of crude diamonds, a glimpse 

of white gold, charcoal, 

fingers dipped in black tar.

I am a temple of worship with trinket dreams,

a tea kettle whistling ex-lovers boiling inside.

At dawn, shove them under, let me work.

We are all passengers traveling

on that train of the past—

senses, sins, errors, or omissions

deep in that couch.


Nightlife Jungle Beat,

Bar Next Door


Like all thing’s life changes, its melodies fragment.

It breaks pieces apart, then they drift, then shatter.

The singers of songs love bars,

naked bodies, consistencies, and inconsistencies

that makes it burn all turn outright at night.

They like to drum repeat rhythms and sounds.

Poets like to retreat to dens

of pleasure just like these.

Sing poets sing off-key

free verse notes down by the bridge,

near the river as far as their voices

will carry them away.

It is the nature of difference,

indifference a vocabulary of us confused,

minds between insanity and genius.

The hermit asks for

a public forum in shyness,

while treading to the bar

next door for a shot of tequila

no money, no life.

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 2033 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. He has over 536 published poems to date. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 42 countries, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations.  243 poetry videos are now on YouTube Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings: The Best in Contemporary Poetry, Member Illinois State Poetry Society:

Two Poignant Poems by Margaret Kiernan



Generational perspective on strife


Rattle-weed hums in wind

babbles gibbers

spews out seeds

knows that wars last

only so long , the

rusted arguments

will drag over ground

where grasses

withering in torn boots

laces intact

drenched in tears

from mothers,

yet to be born.

Solitary voice

St. Honore, France


Solitary voice raised in startled lament

The knife wielder all powerful


The Bataclan still remembered, it’s un-redacted

pain. Now evil , a man, came to school


To halls of pre-eminent fame

With a weapon


Skilled in sleight of hand

He smoulders with rage


Preys on the easily captured in a children’s

assembly place ,all barter denied


Just sullen crushing a blade into soft skin

with a point. Those that send him await


In allied states ,with passions on fire

for moments when one man dies.

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, 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,,  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.

Social Media-



Five Poems by Grant Tarbard


A Life Held Between Covers

Idols, I have amassed a hippodrome,

my cross to bear is a vessel of Christ

too, she sees paradise through her open

window enveloped in pearly box-spring

of cloudbursts. She hides gravity behind

her handkerchief, the fixed distance we’re so

settled with is illusion, a cardboard

set of breathless stars flirting in the wings,

a curious assemblage trumpeting

red mouthed language of the universe’s

sighing heart. She hides time in her leggings,

the old pair that sag like an ageing face.

I accept the decay of my marriage,

she still sees peace lilies sprout in springtime.

The Art of Articulation

You’re here now; shall I applaud her on her

final appearance on this cast-off stage?

Shall I ask her a newspaper of whys?

They’ll be buried within a weak never

of Saturn feasting on his gnarled children.

I will needle no questions of her then,

there’s no particle of her that’s not left.

History itself ceased, aeons unmade, 

her voice is but air pushing through a flute.

Am I a coward? I didn’t protect her

when she was torn from the decoration

of perfection. What’s the answer to this?

I think the answer to life is to live

inside a whale with all your needs swallowed.

Coffinmaker’s Blues

Watching M, the Fritz Lang film. That scene where

the police raid a cellar bar, the volk

run up and down the only staircase, no

more knowing which direction will set them

free, whistling at the cops because at least

there’s hope in complete disintegration.

The film was made in 1931’s

Weimar Republic and I wonder who

became a Nazi and who resisted.

Time, the missing child, is slain. Pause all noise,

this room is but a rehearsal, echoes

resound off the far wall. I lift the screen;

and saw infinity’s dress with the sky

inside where we used to forget ourselves.

The Motto Scrutiny

I signed the pact of paralysation

but she didn't, locking arms walking in woods

had to go. I've scorned essential movement,

death's deletion is a trait of my skin.

I'm terrified my unaffected limbs

will be slackened off, the rigging of me

collapsing under a clap of thunder.

To be disabled means the loss of will,

the decomposition of vanity;

a used motto of suffocated eyes

scrutinising every muscle I move,

a slip up under the mask of spastic.

Hope is still here, although my house will burn,

we have parlour games of love and leaving.



What a charitable beast is Death. Claws

inhabit the once sunken galleon

of her armchair. No-one sits in it now,

each moment lost of a make-pretend life.

You do not deserve an explanation

Death said. I will not whimper my griefs

so you'll have no hurt quarry to pursue,

wash your slaughtering hands. Oh come pity,

come the feeding teat of night and gorge me—

a wilderness of squandering, a hand

with just robbed station flowers languidly

disappears up my sleeve as a starling

animates her flight, a low-angle shot.

Reel breaths whimper a silent reverie.

Grant Tarbard is a form of jellied molecules that loves ice cream. These molecules are the author of Loneliness is the Machine That Drives the Word (Platypus Press) & Rosary of Ghosts  (Indigo Dreams). Upcoming books are Dog (Gatehouse Press) & This is the Carousel Mother Warned You About (Three Drops Press).

Four Sublime Poems by Adele Ogier Jones


Letters to Rosa Luxemburg


If I had written to you today

as I walked through the forest

deep in the evening remembering you

in prison silent with your thinking

interrupted only by an old woman

telling you she also liked to read books

what would I have said?


That I missed you,

thought of you,

and wanted you back

that I could not bear the thought of you

silently at the pond

fixing the design of shrubs and trees

around it in your mind

to block out hopelessness.


Could I have told you that I felt you near

as I saw beside me,

violets filling the banks

falling over edges

themselves in desperation to find the sun

just as you longed for it in prison.


Could I have sent you dried flowers

in the hope that they might reach you

get past the censors checking withholding

postponing your letters to break you.


Would you understand the purple blossom

as a sign of my admiration

a friendship never faltering

even though it could mean my investigation.


Could I have filled the silent echoes

with words to share those you sent me

telling me to be strong, not to lose heart

to keep my head up.


Your strength, determination, belief

in the darkest humidity of cells

seems never broken

even while you told me not to be crushed

not forsaken.


Are there any words I could send

which would ever match those you sent me.


What else would you have written

if I could have passed this on to you

gazing deep into the pond

tempting the bravest soul?


Perhaps you saw the bird

with orange speckled breast

perhaps it danced distracting you

just as the lone actor entices me today

deep into the black forest.


            (letter to Rosa Luxemburg responding to hers from prison)



Where birdsong greets morning.


Your letters

barely touch

on war


canons booming

in the distance

you censored your words

protecting comrades.


Your letters

enquiring their health

by name, urging them

to stand their ground

and would do today

if you were here

as if your person

were in your pages


In your words


I see in your words a poem

as you wrote of the blue tit


It went out of my heart

For there was so much


By this hasty call

From the distance


for the bird shrilled twice

in brief succession

zizi bae – zizi bae – zizi bae

and then all was still.


And I see you in the distance

long after

not forgotten though your life

was stilled

you dared not write beliefs

beyond the garden

and traipsing through

a wild Mediterranean

yet I hear how you would write

still today

of this groaning earth.


Your letters

called from the distance

bursting through walls

and years where they could

not be silenced.


Your letters



where speaking out about




was silenced.


Your letter hiding

behind beauty



of a peaceful world.


          (letter to Rosa Luxemburg for hers on 23rd May 1917)

When the nightingale ceased singing


If I had been with you in those gardens

Waiting for the concert of the nightingale

To end

Overture to another secret love

Who sang to you those magic words

You translated as

-          Gligligligligliglick!


Hiding there in shrubbery green

Listening for the dark tones of the solo

To finish

That overture to love you recall

In your later cell remembering

Its writhes and twists

-          When danger threatened.


If only you had known the danger

Facing you, waiting for that one false

Note spoken

Announced in peace though taken more

As enmity, criticism

Of state and its decisions

-          That bird, that plaintive cry.


            (letter to Rosa Luxemburg for hers on 2nd May 1917)

A member of The Poetry Society (UK), Adèle writes creatively as Ogiér Jones. She has four collections of poems, including Beyond the Blackbird Field (Ginninderra Press, 2016) and three chapbooks in the Pocket Poets series, also with Ginninderra Press. She appears in numerous anthologies, e-poetry- and journals, and has been shortlisted and awarded in poetry competitions. These poems are in response to her reading Rose Luxemburg Briefe aus dem Gefängnis – Letters from Prison written in 1916-1917.


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 ...