PPP Ezine PoetrypoeticspleasureEzine (Third Anniversary Issue) Volume 4; Issue 5; May 2020



A Walk Bright and Bold by Ndaba Sibanda

Nonsense by Eliza Segiet

No Time by Wayne Russell

Odisha by Connor Orrico

Enabling Cookies by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Expensive Prayer by Ahmad Al-Khatat

Negative Space by Ann Christine Tabaka

Serenade a Moment by Glory Sasikala

SeaScape  III by Joan McNerney

Forgive Me by Kelli J Gavin

The Storyteller by Brian Rihlmann

Is the Poet Obsolete? The Role of the Artist in Society by Gary Beck




 A Walk Bright and Bold by Ndaba Sibanda



Uncertainty rules 

like never before,  

the new normal 

is the abnormal,

the unheard-of state 

of affairs is our new,

there was the past

before the present

whose presence 

virtually signifies 

a virtual existence

if one cannot be 

cybernetic or dynamic, 

it seems fully frenetic! 

though the human race

must always run a race

that is optimistic & civic

a walk , bright and bold  



Ndaba Sibanda is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee, Ndaba`s poems have been widely anthologised. Sibanda is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence and Poetry Pharmacy. His work is featured in The Anthology House, in The New Shoots Anthology, and in The Van Gogh Anthology, and A Worldwide Anthology of One Hundred Poetic Intersections. Some of Ndaba`s works are found or forthcoming in  Page & Spine,  Peeking Cat, Piker Press , SCARLET LEAF REVIEW , Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Pangolin Review, Kalahari Review ,Botsotso, The Ofi Press Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, Deltona Howl, The song is, Indian Review, Eunoia Review, JONAH magazine, Saraba Magazine, Poetry Potion, Saraba Magazine,  The Borfski Press, Snippets, East Coast Literary Review, Random Poem Tree, festival-of-language and Whispering Prairie Press. 


Sibanda`s forthcoming book Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things: Confronting Controversies ,Contradictions And Indoctrinations   was considered for The 2019 Restless Book Prize for New Immigrant Writing in Nonfiction. Ndaba`s other forthcoming book Cabinet Meetings: Of Big And Small Preys was considered for The Graywolf Press Africa Prize 2018.

Sibanda`s other forthcoming books include Timbomb, Dear Dawn And Daylight, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, A Different Ballgame and The Way Forward. 

Ndaba blogs here: Let`s Get Cracking! – Ndaba Sibanda – WordPress.com.



Nonsense by Eliza Segiet



Translated by Artur Komoter



I cannot overpower time,

now lasts extremely long,

I will not have good memories.


Before and after it

there were,

there are,

there will be.


From the continuous nonsense

that destroys faith in the human

 we will get out.


I know,

in some



a bit of humanity.


Eliza Segiet is Jagiellonian University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. She completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Penal Fiscal and Economic Law, and Creative Writing at Jagiellonian University, as well as Film and Television Production in Łódź. She has published three poetry collections and two monodramas.




No Time by Wayne Russell

I cast my net into the metaphoric divide,
slowly it unfurls, always like dreams, a flag
of revelation, cast into the uncharted sea.

From the pier, I am safe, the last of my tribe,
the coda of a song; the sea birds release their
souls into the gentle breeze one keow at a time.

There is no tomorrow, for the day’s march in
perfect unison and blend in the stratosphere of
silence, from the pier, I witness their mystery.

Tomorrow has no dominion, those creatures of
the sea and of the ocean know the souls that swim
for all eternity are truly free, held for ransom to
no time.   



Wayne Russell is or has been many things in his time upon this planet, he has been a creative writer, world traveler, graphic designer, former soldier, and former sailor. Wayne has been widely published in both online and hard copy creative writing magazines. From 2016-17 he also founded and edited Degenerate Literature. In late 2018, the editors at Ariel Chart nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize for the poem Stranger in a Strange Town. “Where Angels Fear” is his debut poetry book published by Guerrilla Genesis Press.




Odisha by Connor Orrico



Odisha I

saffron shaded shrines
by ivory white clinics
on green grass of Odisha

Odisha II

in evening paramedics
rejuvenate themselves

in the vibrant colors
of their favorite sari shop

Odisha III

beside swift

highway traffic
an elephant 
proudly ambles



Connor Orrico is a medical student with interests in global health, mental health, and how we make meaning from the stories we share with each other, themes which were recently explored in his publications in Headline Poetry & Press, Detritus, and PPP Ezine.





Enabling Cookies by Ryan Quinn Flanagan



She bakes them on a tray

in the oven

gets antsy when they are not ready

when she thinks they should


It is her grandmother’s recipe.

Handwritten on a single yellow old cue card

passed down through the family.

And I try one while they are still hot,

this woman who loves to bake.


Her grandmother returned to dust.

We eat an entire tray in one sitting.



Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, PPP Ezine, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.





Expensive Prayer by Ahmad Al-Khatat



I wish I had more mistakes than sins
I want to have my brain cells fully damaged
as the friend I always trusted before is
now a dark cloud in my miserable season

Love is blind more than love is happiness
as it is an expensive prayer for me 
even my siblings are deaf to hear the beats
of my broken heart from the liquor I drink

Grains of salt are above the roof of my mouth
meanwhile, I never swam in a salty ocean 
nor; added salt on my tasteless plates of food 
I just lick salt off my hand after I drink a few shots

I respect more faces then they deserve 
only death is the path to end my anxieties 
dark poems won’t solve anything about life 
those tears will later fall along with ruby blood.



Ahmad Al-Khatat was born in Baghdad, Iraq. His work has appeared in print and online journals globally and has poems translated into several languages. He has been nominated for Best of the Net 2018. He is the author of The Bleeding Heart Poet, Love On The War’s Frontline, Gas Chamber, Wounds from Iraq, Roofs of Dreams, and The Grey Revolution. He lives in Montreal, Canada.




Negative Space by Ann Christine Tabaka  



Humming a tune,

the song is never sung.


Strumming the cords,

a melody is lost.


Counting minutes,

hours turn to days.


Seeking direction,

a course is all but set.




Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Synchronized Chaos, Pangolin Review, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.





Serenade a Moment by Glory Sasikala



He wove dreams with and around me


I will take you to the river

and make you a raft

You can lie there and float

with the current.

I’ll lift you up by a rope to our own tree house

We will watch the blue moon together

and hear the owl hoot.

I will send you love letters on lotus leaves

down the river.

I will weave you flower garlands made of buttercups.

There are open spaces in the forest

where the bamboo bloomed and died

We will go to the stream where the wild animals drink.

I will show you how the cheetah’s eyes

shine in the dark jungle

I will show you how to make baskets

out of palm leaves

And I will make love to you

among the flowers in the hillside

where the birds sing.



Glory Sasikala is a poet and writer currently residing in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. She is the Editor and Publisher of the Monthly Online Prose and Poetry magazine, ‘GloMag’ and is the administrator of the group of the same name on Facebook. She is a language editor and quality analyst by profession.




SeaScape  III by Joan McNerney




My mind is an ocean

where swimmers, surfers,

sun worshippers cavort.


Long salty hair

held between

their teeth.


wild flowered gowns

…streams of silk

waves of taffeta

splashy lace.


They sail through

my watery face

combing my eyes

whispering in my ears.


Alone, under a pointillist sky.

Gulls flying around me.

Black waters touched by

moon of vague prophecy.



Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary zines such as Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net.




Forgive Me by Kelli J Gavin 



What did you say?

Forgive me.

I am not sure what you are asking me.

Could you please repeat?

Could you please tell me again?

What are you trying to say?

I want to respond to you.

Yet I don’t know where to begin.

I will wait.

I will be patient.

Forgive me.

I don’t know where to start.





Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company.  Look for Kelli’s first book of short stories and poems in 2019. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter,  Writer’s Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, Hickory Stump, Rabid Oak, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Pleather Skin, Paper.Li, The New Ink Review, and among others.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin

Blog found at kellijgavin.blogspot.com



The Storyteller by Brian Rihlmann

Old man at the bar
with a protruding nose
and leathery face
brags about building this city.

He drove trucks, bulldozers,
wielded hammers, saws,
and to hear him tell it,
he did it all by himself,
as a young man. 

A few of us sit
on our barstools 
half listening, as he 
drones on, not looking at us,
just staring at the wall.

The bartender grabs a towel,
goes and wipes down
the other end of the bar,
he’s heard this story 
a hundred times.

The old man stops talking,
picks up his shot
with trembling fingers,
drains it, takes a swig of beer,
then stands and shuffles to the can.

We look at one another, grin,
shake our heads.
I feel sorry for him, I think, 
but then who am I
to feel sorry for him.

Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press, Alien Buddha Zine, Synchronized Chaos, Madness Muse Press and The American Journal Of Poetry.




Is the Poet Obsolete? The Role of the Artist in Society by Gary Beck


The role of the artist in society has changed dramatically at various times in recorded western history. One of the earliest notable exemplars of the reputable place that a poet occupied in society is Aeschylus, who did his public duty in 490 b.c., when he fought against the Persians at the battle of Marathon, participating in the struggle for survival of the democratic polis, Athens.

The options of the artist diminished rapidly with the growth of empires, since the role of the artist is not vital to the existence of the state. For almost two millennia, the normal pattern of life for the artist was dependency on patrons, sponsors, or commissions. The exceptions were the select few born to privilege, for example, Byron, who gave his life for Greek freedom, perishing in 1824 at Missolongi, during the Ottoman siege. During this span, the artists outside the system led difficult lives and were fortunate to practice their art, however difficult the conditions.

The industrial revolution diversified the control of wealth by the lords of power, bringing forth a new class of financial barons, who turned to the arts in imitation of their betters. Suddenly artists were able to create their work without it being pre-sold, consequently they were no longer mere craftpersons. Many became personages of some stature in the eyes of the new prosperous middle-class society.

From the 1870’s on, some artists had a world view that allowed them to look beyond their individual discipline, as they searched for a more significant role in the life around them. Poets patriotically enlisted in World War I, and the British poets in particular wrote about the horror they experienced. The poets who dutifully went to war in World War II returned quietly and never really developed a public identity. The crisis for American poets began in the early stages of the Cold War. American painters skyrocketed to world acclaim, fame, fortune, while the poets composed in relative obscurity. More and more poets sought a modicum of security, finding shelter in universities far from public recognition and reward.

In a dynamic American cultural revolution, every art form from the 1960’s on, offered the possibility of wealth and status to the artist, except poetry. Poetry had no opera houses, concert halls, museums, galleries, or mass-market publishers to attract large audiences. But the poets now were college-educated and with a few exceptions, such as the Beats, led obscure lives in colleges. The artificial atmosphere comforted the isolated wordsmiths with the illusion of accomplishment, reaching small groups of students, readers of poetry periodicals, and miniscule audiences attending poetry readings.

Poetry in America experienced an identity crisis. The anti-Vietnam war movement in the late 1960’s firmly closed the portals on the topic of war, mankind’s most consequential activity, as a suitable subject. Virtually all American poets were liberals and in all good conscience opposed war, so the government became the enemy.  Since the poets mostly could not identify the capitalist owners of America, they scorned the system of flawed representative government and retreated further into safe niches.  Internal revelations and lurid exposés of parental abuse became valid subject matter, transforming the nature of poetry into microcosmic excursions, rather then explorations of big issues.

In an era of uncertainties and dangerous conflicts, domestic and foreign, there is no designated role for the artist in American society. The very concept of training poets in college, an environment that discourages extremes and negates any natural inclination to action, leaves the poet adrift in a world that dismisses the practitioners of passivity.

The poet travels towards his or her destination, a journey of creation of what should be a meaningful body of work, through a haphazard combination of education, exposure and personal preferences. This occurs in an unstructured process that makes the accomplishments fortuitous. In medicine or engineering, students are taught and trained by measurable standards and the results are assessable. Even acting, the most superficial of the performing arts, which lacks the stringent requirements of music or dance, has more predictable goals than poetry. The poet’s path could be adventurous, since it explores an uncharted wilderness without landmarks or traveler’s aids, but it will be a dismal voyage for the timid.

Poetry, once the preeminent literary art, has been supplanted by mass market commercial fiction. The authors of novels have become far more prominent than any poet, whose limited possibilities of achievements are determined by effort, talent, and coincidence. Rarely is anything meaningful achieved without a mentor, the sponsorship of a like-minded network, or a supportive artistic community. The poet can be susceptible to a stifling tendency to huddle together in protective enclaves, rather than move in the sphere of the world at large.

The poet must learn to expand his or her perception of existence and enlarge their scope of interest, or risk becoming inconsequential in this demanding life. There is an urgent need to reach out to diverse audiences, prisoners, seniors, the culturally underserved, and most important, to youth, not to make them poets, but to introduce them to a broader view of life. With proper instruction, poetry is the most accessible and cost-effective way to reach large numbers of youth. The constriction of the classroom rarely develops confidence in youth, the quality that allows them to choose who they will grow up to be. The poet can help launch venturesome journeys for youth that will promote their contribution to the future of our society.

It is implausible that America will produce warrior-poets who will fight on tomorrow’s battlefields of freedom. But those poets who wish to participate in the life of their times, participate in a grander arena of creativity, design a meaningful role for themselves in their society, must outreach to needy and deprived audiences.  The poet’s efforts will enrich their audiences, who in turn will reward those poets who are receptive with the great satisfaction derived from serving humanity. 


Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include 26 poetry collections, 10 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 1 collection of one-act plays. Published poetry books include:  Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions and Desperate Seeker (Winter Goose Publishing. Forthcoming: Learning Curve and Ignition Point). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels and Severance (Cyberwit Publishing: Forthcoming Redemption Value). His novels include a series ‘Stand to Arms, Marines’: Call to Valor, Crumbling Ramparts and Raise High the Walls (Gnome on Pig Productions) and Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated then directed by Gary Beck will be published by Cyberwit Publishing. Gary lives in New York City.