Thursday 30 June 2022

Two Creative Non-Fiction Essays by Margaret Kiernan


Essay-on- Love - Creative Non-Fiction


As I walk down the road I’m thinking about those Greeks, and their eight types of love.

I remember too that  I am of another age. Less scoped, freer.

One thing I agree with them, love is high frequency, not ever low. Traditional people may have viewed it as a one -on-one feeling state, without resistance.

I kick a stray stone off the road. Watch it lodge in a bunch of dead grasses. Alone, without any resistance. It is.

I watch a Kingfisher dip and dive from the blackthorn tree beside the staid canal. Flashing blue colour, intent on catching its supper.

Love is a state of being. Heart full in flow, receiving and giving.

Lived fully it will arrive at joy. I see it in the battered blue metal jug once used to fill blue-stone mix, into a copper drum. I watch it in Ox-eye daisies weaving in the sun haze

I hear it in the music of Yo-Yo Ma. Or a trumpet player in a jazz bar. It catches in my throat breathless, as I fight with tears that want to fall bitter-sweet.

Or a sunset spreading liquid gold, letting go the light, yearning, I swallow it too.

Or Venus rising as dusk evens-out the bare spots of land, blending.

If hate is hell surely love is Heaven.

Perceptions of Peace - Creative Non-Fiction Essay



What possibilities exist to share our planet more lovingly, and with each other?

The man on the street corner might say anything is possible. And it is true to say, things are possible, something always works. Does it work for every man and woman in humankind? There was a time perhaps, when it did. Before the before.

The binary highway of Left and Right thinking became established and used to organise society. A Colonial organiser’s dream. A perception of Otherness was created.

Elitism arrived as an aspect of reactionary ideology and, autocracy.

There had been the highway of ancient knowing, food and health knowledge, flora and fauna, original caretakers, oral truths and storytelling with myths, mutual governance. Solace, and learned solutions. Navigation by original caretakers. Indigenous sciences. Voiced for the tribe. By the tribe, the children were considered and protected. No guardian ad. litem needed.

The water tribes of Ecuador had enough savvy to keep the water flowing cleanly. But time brings change, transforms un-thought of situations and things. Before a moth becomes a butterfly, it is happy- out, I guess. It doesn’t know it will become an exotic butterfly.

Then international global autocratic organisations began to behave and operate like owners of the planet. Texaco came to south America, amongst other places. Other businesses arrived there too. Then  the voice of the people was not listened to and, eco-disasters that were beyond  horrific nightmares, happened.

There were river sludges, the trees cried, and natives died. But that is fore- telling. I must return to the past. Back to the calendar of the middle eighteen hundred.

That time, a change came. Selected families and oriented persons decided to create industries on a big scale. It coincided with worldwide white ascendency.

The natural fear of difference may have contributed. To a them and us division, or not. A colonial fascism on a binary path.

Elitism triumphed, and a new order created to last hundreds of years. Families became super-rich and beheld a sense of entitlement.

Powerful because of their cash. They could influence world events, politics, kings and queens, stock-markets trading, land-prices, territories, and outer space.

Even life?

Fortunes made by the few and shipped out.

Over time the system would become a neo-liberal arena with innovative technology and power. Capitalism in a spirit of fascism where trade unions tamed or bought out. The perception of “otherness” remaining, you were either an ally or a threat.

At the turn if the twenty first century there were rumbles of change in society. People on the street had appeared to have arrived at a knowing of discrepancies in the world. Clear eyed seeing of a worldwide ascendency of white nationalism and ultra-right-wing movements. A global financial collapse. Fascism was again evident and renewed. Polarity created a very heavy energy among the peoples, and they spoke about it. On the world-wide web, in the street and elsewhere.

Attitudes and behaviours were informing a different type of person. Who were these waking people? In the morning who was the Self they met. Did they love falling apple blossoms or horseradish sauce. Did Yo-Yo Ma fill a void?

They spoke of galactic beings and native sciences. The endless possibilities for solutions in health, education and, in the language of spirit, art, earth society. No business models, just selves and souls getting on together. Solace. Believing you are me and I am you.

No borders and therefore no passports. No dominant religions. The ecology of the earth and the individual being the same thing. Spirit and soul. Consciousness.

A living wage for each person. A home and time to talk to the trees and lie on the ground, earthing. Ancient places and sacred sites gathering the people to watch the stars. To the music of babbling brooks, the birds will sing. All in harmony of pulsing earth life.

To speak to the Venus star in a dew drenched morning and wait for her reply.

A famous man once said, “I have a dream.”

That a dream is sweet to hold. To bring alive.

Our dreaming so precious we dare to visualise. I have a dream of that peace too,

the endless springtime of hope giving way to summer.

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.

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Three Poems by Petar Penda




You promised it wouldn't rain in June

but I woke up and felt it coming

for no reason or for so many reasons.

Unspoken words dulled my mind,

built walls around me and

set self-suffocating fires

extinguishing my inner world.


Days went on and I wondered 

how long one could bear it. 

Then the rain turned into a downpour

but I still believed in your promise

that it wouldn't rain in June.





King Lear rages within me,

Storms, thunders and lightning,

Disquiet of the stone's frailty

And the memory of its old power,

A solid rock becomes soil, 

The sea wins the land and 

feeds itself with the oblivion,

Swallows words and turns them into the sand. 


When the Ararat tops disappear and

Water takes away our bodies,

Will our prayers to sea gods be met

To lighten us with words and keep us alive.





A small coastal village,

a patio with a mosaic 

and a table with two chairs

hidden between old roofed houses

and we cast furtive glances

at each other.

The rumbling of the sea waves

stirs our minds and

gives us the needed courage.

Like two branches bowing 

in the steady breeze,

we move our hands closer

to the middle of the table,

slowly lift the cigarettes,

our smokes merge

and become one.


Petar Penda is a professor of English and American literature (University of Banja Luka) and a translator. His translations have been published in renowned journals in the USA and the UK. His poetry was published by "Fevers of the Mind", " Lothlorien Poetry Journal", "A Thin Slice of Anxiety", "Trouvaille Review" and others.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Five Poems by Ed Brickell




Even near the weary turn of the last skeptical century, 

An old Welshman claimed his father had slain draig-talamh

The earth dragons. He swore he had seen them in his youth: 

Scales crusty with jewels, crests flaring in rainbows. 

When disturbed, he said, they slid away to hide - 

Seeking dark tumuli reeking of earth and damp, 

Sowed with the sacred weapons of men. 


Still coiled deep in that muck, a dying claw curls 

Around a naked thing that snuffles and squirms, 

Veined skin shiny, thin as tissue: 

That delicate treasure, the old Welshman's belief. 

Tiny lungs suck rot and mould, pink stubs paw weakly in mire. 


Someone expecting anything must dig fast through that grit, 

Be brave enough to tell what they never saw. 



Ol’ Angry River 


Suck me down, ol’ Angry River, 

Grind my weary bones to goo, 

Flay my nightmares from the marrow, 

This life fleets like a fleeting arrow. 


Burnin’ store-bought firewood 

In the middle of the store, 

Angry River, I can’t make a good man see the bad 

In a woman who won’t make a sad man understand. 


Your fish are biting, Angry River, 

I can feel them at my throat. 

O werewolf moon burning out of season 

By your bonfired shores, beyond all reason. 


If you can’t tell the truth about a lie 

Then never mind what I just said. 

Angry River gurgles rent-free in my head, 

Leads its water to ev’ry horse, makes them drink. 


Float your poisoned garbage out to sea, 

Cleanse yourself with thunder rain. 

Lift up your flood disaster karma,  

Teach us your drowning devil dharma. 





Sometimes it takes a beach to remind me 

Of how the world repeats itself: 

On warm sand walking from sun to moon, 

Scenery repeating like a cheap cartoon. 

But the overwhelming ocean reminds me  

Of the cinderblock pool, burning with chlorine, 

Where I learned to be afraid of swimming, 

The kind of fear that swirls in your soul for life, 

So much water to be afraid of, so many years. 

I look out across dark churn to earth’s edge, 

Thinking, I do not belong here, no one belongs here, 

This is not our place, this endless watery place, 

The beach, an uneasy armistice  

I am signing in the sand with my toes as I walk, 

The waves creeping closer, 

Warning me to hush, hush, hush. 



Big Storm 


The dark in the west is deep -  

A rogue chunk of night  

Drifting like an iceberg. 

The breeze, spiced with damp earth. 

Wind chimes blunder into each other. 

Thunder roots in the edges. 


Close behind this Gotterdammerung 

The sky turns a page of blue - 

A disappointing novel, 

Read in a single glance. 



Ash Thursday 


A rooster crows, a baby cries. Enter chorus. 


Theirs was a sadness that had to wait. 

We did not see the calendar, but we could feel the days, 

Smearing grey ash across the broad bone of our foreheads. 

How many shadows did not belong to someone? 

They seemed beyond counting, a refugee darkness, 

So close no tear could drip between them, 

And still we wept like cows lowing. 

We cannot recall the first grief that made our heads bow, 

We cannot recall the dates of the deaths,  

What each blurred face did for a living, who they loved, 

The madness that jerked in their heads before the peace, 

The ancestral karma they bore like smoking coals. 

Theirs was a sadness that had to wait, 

And it died in that waiting, and, numb as we were, 

We mourned that late sadness too.

Ed Brickell is a Soto Zen practitioner living in Dallas, Texas. His poems have appeared or will appear soon in Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Copperfield Review, Beatnik Cowboy, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.


Two Poems by Kate Garrett




air is a staircase you climb, a road to bump

along. you live your entire life above us—


never stroll a pebbled beach, touch evergreen

spires of a holy forest. you are made simply

for the sky. you knock on our windows, let

us know you exist, red gore of sunset your


backdrop. your world seems endless, but it

ends with us. an expanse of ever-changing blues


and reds, lilac and yellow backlight black

cloud scowl; the dance between your kind

and the raindrops, thunder growl, the hum

of lightning. this is your country, where maps


are alien. you’re resigned to a life beneath

the stars, above the trees, out of our reach.



the book of saint discord


she reads the story of you aloud

before it happens—she pulls

each step and stumble

from between two cracked

covers, turns pages with nails

like blackthorn spikes.


she leaves whispers in the bedside

drawer while you sleep

and in the morning you shake

them from your ears like stale

dreams. be careful who you trust

and what you wish for, her voice


tumbles down. eyes only for you

blink like jewels, their milk berry

chill patters across your shoulders.

all the holes in the road, toothy traps

in the wood, the hundred deaths

behind your eyes in the dark before


the dawn. she writes the story

of you in crushed beetle ink,

letters sprawl like spider tracks.

there is no other way to prove this love,

this thing you called out to the gods

for, but she will give you a happy ending.

Kate Garrett is a writer with witchy ways and a significant folklore, history, and horror obsession. Her work is widely published online and in print. Her most recent books are the historical, time-hopping verse novella Hart & Ha'penny (TwistiT Press, 2021) and a full-length poetry collection, Sunward/Moonwise (Impspired, 2021). Born and raised in rural southern Ohio, USA, Kate moved to the UK in 1999, where she still lives now - in Shropshire, with her husband, five children, and an assortment of land and water creatures. Find her on Instagram @thefolklorefaery, Twitter @folklore_faery, and her website

Two Poems by Stephen Crowe


An Ode to California




The bridges are silent and   empty, there’s no one left to cross. And magenta. As the sky is open and bleeding liquid sunshine, there’s no one left to cross. Can you hear me...? Feel worn breath, know what is behind waterfalls see the roaring bullets of sunlight, scissors through cortex, tungsten glow, sleep, the nightly tv head.


There’s a dog sniffing along the seashore at Laguna Beach.

There’s quiet when you wake in the dead morning and know that you are dead.

There are streaks of candle wax running down the wall.

There’s a heart next-door pumping naked in an exposed chest.

There're eyes staring into traffic. There’s bread on the table and warm milk in a glass.

There’s Rock music drifting in through an open window.

There’s a star on the tv screen.

There’s cocaine piled high on the table.

There’s Jesus hanging above your bed.




There’s flesh roasting in a frying pan. There’re women soaking up the morning fog they glow in crucified light.

There’s a car crashing on an LA freeway, across from busy Van Nuys.

There’s a dope-sick angel singing gracefully for a broken stick.

There’s a boy coiled in a corner--naked.

There’s sex in room 15b Alta Saga Hotel.

There’s a heroin mother defiling sun wine, spraying her blood into the LA sky.

And in magenta, there’s a dog sniffing alone on Laguna Beach.

The bridges are silent and empty it is time to cross. Alone. Rock music. Golden Gate.






Needle, razor, aspirin, O+ in a sink.

Widow hiding under its porcelain belly.

Outside a kid rides his bike in circles around a dead palm.

Fetal tissue in an unflushed toilet. Coarse lambs wait for a ride on Hollywood Boulevard.

Young men film their first homosexual porno.

A time alone...

And in magenta, a dog alone, sniffing the sand along a narrow beach, sea spray coats his fur and wets his nose.





Escape to the mountains and lunge for the clouds.

Samantha still loves you, go back to her arms and nestle snugly against her warm breast.

Sigh deeply and think of tomorrow.

Sigh deeply...

Sunday beasts dine at the Gorgons’ feast.

Sunday beasts dine at the Gorgons’ feast.

San Gabriel Mountains at sunrise.


Her last, last hurrah

Coffee perks on the burner

coffee perks on the burner giving off its brown aroma.

a shot of whiskey; a cup of coffee

It’s 1971

My aunt in her pink robe and fuzzy yellow slippers

“I tied one on last night”

{Long drive home passed out in the back seat}

A black child looks in on us from the fire escape. He’s smelled the coffee his arms hold a black blind kitten gently he will barter for milk

War tears the TV apart it’s the morning news

NY bathed in the brown aroma of coffee and a shot of whiskey


America in the early 70s- seen through the eyes

of a Catholic boy in the basement of Sacred Heart school

America slips through his fingers like melting lead super heated

A butterfly collapses in the death of its ecology

thin rice paper wings snipped by the blood of a chemical smog

Ode to the bicentennial cricket the weight of its ebony body

bending a black-eyed Suzie like the arc of a rainbow

crows sail like paniced sky boats as the dog lunges through the field I blow my whistle and the young lab races back to me

in the distance swells the city tall misshapen like a crippled animal

I live in the country don’t give a damn.

please take this child from the war. A boy with a plastic gun fires on us as I water the lawn

please take us from the war

By Stephen Crowe


One Poem by Emmie Christie


Mayfly Dreams


Our heads house living things

Dreams born and buried as we sleep

The transition dreams are working class,

They pass so fast we cannot grasp

Them, so they clamour for

Rights to live just as long

As the rich “I can fly” dreams

That ride around in limousines

The nightmares slink like rabid dogs,

A pack of stress and wild fears,

Untamed, they run the streets

And tear apart anything that moves,

Grounding them and chasing them

But never quite catching,

Always just behind.

These visions ride on

Ferris wheels in our heads

Perhaps even we are in

Some giant’s mind -

Mayflies, with just minutes

Left alive.

Emmie Christie’s (Emily Smith) work includes practical subjects, like feminism and mental health, and speculative subjects, like unicorns and affordable healthcare. She has been published in various short story markets including Ghost Orchid Press and Flash Fiction Online, and upcoming poetry in F&SF. She graduated from the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2013. You can find her at or on Twitter @EmmieChristie33.


Friday 24 June 2022

Four Poems by Vernon Fraser


Back in the Back Alley Again 


a burr voice gaffes before turbo 

numbed the palette splattered 

brighter thesaurus vacant work


ampules tired raw rationalists 

caught fending off raffle talk

encouraged the locution play


grating as cracks encase

a retrofit pudding missing

fallacious heating on feel


a defiant management factotum

the visible simulacrum recumbent 

a Againfireball hazard ripped shelters


replication when torpor looking 

forwards a dimmer sinkhole glimpsing

a fertilizer conundrum sprocket


the wet hesitation painter wanted

behemoth incendiaries unsprung


neighbourhood chokers brim over dice



Cooking Up a Recipe 


the best blend shows tread

making a grist walk meringue

its shortfalls churn lavender

seeking constricted outputs

wherever toxic peril returns

to the tablespoon mechanic

thinning his impetigo cufflink

before the signature premise

foretells a transit separation

that plated its tin pan axiom

when a volcano getting sticky

turned rock to breath garment

addled the metastatic past

where the missing seascape

became an isolate outrage

handed one vantage transit

wigwam larva grated fine

the equinox a tin simulacrum

privately nautical while frenetic

crosswind photos loom 

slow gallops churn lap wings

hallucinogenic parka their logo

welcome lifeboats cure their legacy

brimstones steal bronzed glory

typewriter militants ghost wherever

straight words pocket enjoying

clatter supplication enchantment

no mezzanine sidestep set

their drone to preferences

luncheon still imposed before 

moustache broadcastings push

migraine persuasion to the many

the foodstuff not big repentance 



Living Under the Underfoot 


the lizards left them air 

their one turn stolen slowly

sure as any tired ampule


raw reverberation grabbing

its four gumline carriers

no marsh grinned an emu pocket


boarder allegory shaken

provoked a pocket waltz


reversing when crystalline

health made raw luncheon

a binary skid to meteor storm


its luminary air confinement

tinted later broadcasts forward 

issued in from topic sealant


intrepid milkmen ever vacant

believe a sun of debtor brims


that swelters lachrymose in

the sinkhole curriculum errata

no handshake grifter enrolled


the venom tries insider transit

its woe swelling reptilian haze



Hosting from the Audience 


talk radio raves

against a papal simulacrum


     no bull



at the cattle orifice

lowing the limbo record


referenda suffrage below intent


no blue

orchid streaming laser lines


     a spectacle of faith

     caught loafing with camera fish


          hinting udder cleavage

           slyly             styled


                   under the camera 

                     waving dreams

                     below passage


          aching bent over

                                     black stocking net





the vicarious dream of a neutered pantomime 



Vernon Frazer has written more than thirty books of poetry, three novels and a short story collection. His poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Aught, Big Bridge, First Intensity, Jack Magazine, Lost and Found Times, Moria, Miami SunPost, Muse Apprentice Guild, Sidereality, Xstream and many other literary magazines. He introduced IMPROVISATIONS at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in Manhattan.

Working in multi-media, Frazer has performed his poetry with the late saxophonist Thomas Chapin, the Vernon Frazer Poetry Band and as a solo poet-bassist. His jazz poetry recordings and multimedia work are available on Youtube.

Frazer resides in central Connecticut. He is widowed.


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 ...