PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 9; September 2022

Poet of the Month: Lynn Long

97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye by Michael Lee Johnson

As Cold as She is Beautiful by Robert Beveridge

 L’Avventura by Mark Young

After the Zoo by James Croal Jackson

The Bubble by Peter Mladinic

The Guard by James Mulhern

Good Morning by Ahmad Al-Khatat

What Will We Do? By Eric Golden

Progressive Education by Gary Beck

                      Poet of the Month: Lynn Long


Familiar feelings

Adrift on the fallen leaves

Chasing summer winds

Ever the student

Still learning to embrace change

I wander the path

Time ever keeping

I’ve traveled the road before

Present entwines past

Amid Autumn woes

Melancholy paints the sky

Crimson shades of blue

 And I am here once more

I thought I’d write a poem

I thought I’d write a poem,

perhaps about the moon

lulling me to sleep

Or the stars in which I dream

upon from afar

But the morning sun took my

words- its beauty a silence

…only my soul heard


And she whispers goodbye

to amber hues in a painted sky

To feelings long held, no longer

the same…

For she is twilight

And he … the setting of day

Lynn Long

Poet, writer, dreamer

And believer in the impossible…

Residing somewhere in time

Artist at https://hitrecord.org/


With published pieces in various

online publications, journals, E-zines and anthologies







97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye by Michael Lee Johnson

(An atheist faces his own death)

By Michael Lee Johnson

Wait until I have to say goodbye,

don’t rush; I’m a philosophical professor

facing my own death on my own time.

It takes longer to rise to kick the blankets back.

I take my pills with water and slowly lift

myself out of bed to the edge of my walker.

Living to age 97 is an experience I share

with my caretaker and so hard to accept.

It’s hard for youngsters who have not experienced

old age to know the psychology of pain

that you can’t put your socks on or pull

your own pants up without help anymore—

thank God for suspenders.

“At a certain point, there’s no reason

to be concerned about death, when you die,

no problem, there’s nothing.”

But why in my loneness, teeth stuck

in with denture glue, my daily pillbox complete,

and my wife, Leslie Josephine, gone for years,

why does it haunt me?

I can’t orchestrate, play Ph.D. anymore,

my song lyrics is running out, my personality

framed in a gentler state of mind.

I still think it necessary to figure out

the patterns of death; I just don’t know why.

“There must be something missing

from this argument; I wish I knew.

Don’t push me, please wait; soon

is enough to say goodbye.

My theater life, now shared, my last play,

coming to this final curtain, I give you

grace, “the king of swing,” the voice of

Benny Goodman is silent now,

an act of humanity passes, no applause.

*Dedicated to the memory of Herbert Fingarette, November 2, 2018 (aged 97).  Berkeley, California, U.S.A. Video credit and photo credits:     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6NztnPU-4.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 259 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 4 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 443 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/.

As Cold as She is Beautiful by Robert Beveridge

… fallen avatar,

visiting hours are over

take me to your cell

shake the frost from your blanket

and cover us

your lips to mine this kiss

warms us,

warms the bars,

the walls,

melts the mahogany of your hair,

the clouds your areolae,

the frost on the ceiling

the wet tick of droplets on melting ice

take me into you and let me feel

how the connection closed radiates,

and the walls, the floor, the writing desk

bloom, saturate.

The water closes over us

outside the glass

your lips to mine this kiss

share my breath

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Of Rust and Glass, The Museum of Americana, and Quill and Parchment, among others.


 L’Avventura by Mark Young

& then he

made, or jotted

down, or

maybe just

thought, a few

words about

this movie

in which the

leading lady

vanishes part

way through

with the rest

of the film

given over

to the search

but when he

left the cinema

he found all

his words had


Mark Young was born in New Zealand but now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia. He has been publishing poetry for over sixty years, & is the author of around sixty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, creative nonfiction, & art history. His most recent book is Songs to Come for the Salamander, Poems 2013-2021, selected & introduced by Thomas Fink, co-published by Meritage Press & Sandy Press.   

After the Zoo by James Croal Jackson

the offense was claws in which I tore

the seams of treaded jeans we admired

                of hornbills suspended in the space

between freedom and constriction

and contrails the zest of the situation

lingered in halves the happening and aftermath

a baptismal drizzle of your departing hatchback

entirely left to the discretion of satellites

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has three chapbooks: Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022), Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021), and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights, 2017). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com).


The Bubble by Peter Mladinic

The bubble in the shield of my iPhone

is flat, silver as spittle,

shaped like candy wax soda bottles

sold in the 1950s, a bottle you’d eat

not drink from, pure sugar parents

let their kids to buy.

Some got allowances, lucky brats!

That laminate bubble bothered me

but now it’s just part of my life,

unlike my parents, both dead before data

was stored in the cloud. Bluetooth:

That the Everly Brothers’ “Birddog”

comes through my sunglasses

would thrill them. They’d be amazed.

On walkie-talkie banana portables

with antennas God told them:

Your day is coming. Phil and Don sang

“Wake Up, Little Susie.” One night

I lost it, with a brick cracked my Sony

46 inch screen which I then had to dump.

Today I hear my mother,

“Bet you’ll never do that again!”

I remember rainbow colors,

wax soda bottles I broke my teeth.

Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

The Guard by James Mulhern

I sit in the pew next to the stained glass

of Veronica wiping the face of Jesus.

I enjoy the play of light—

red, gold, and green illuminations.

Jesus, a wooden cross covering

his cream tunic and carmine cape,

bends down and speaks to Veronica,

who kneels, veiled in blue and white.

She holds a cloth to wipe his face.

What does Jesus say to her?

Thank you, I suppose.

The guard behind them watches.

Is he a sad witness?

Does he have doubts like me?

Perhaps he listens, as I do, for an illumination.

Or maybe he just wants to escape the searing sun.

James Mulhern’s writing has appeared in literary journals over two hundred times and has received many awards. In 2015, Mr. Mulhern was granted a writing fellowship to Oxford University. That same year, a story was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2017, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His novel, Give Them Unquiet Dreams, is a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. He was shortlisted for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award 2021 for his poetry.

Good Morning by Ahmad Al-Khatat

I wake up on my alarm clock,

It doesn’t say to me good morning

I drink my first cup of coffee,

It doesn’t say to me good morning

I eat my first bites of bacon,

It doesn’t say to me good morning

I see my same old neighbour,

he doesn’t say to me good morning

I take the bus to go to work

Nobody says to me good morning

I arrive at work, my coworkers

and customers don’t say good morning

I am so lonely that I forget to say

to the photos in my office good morning

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, and Roofs of Dreams all of which are available from Amazon. He lives in Montreal, Canada. 

What Will We Do? By Eric Golden

What will we do when the newness wears off?

The laughter is silenced, but at what cost

The tears fall, the hearts break

I know I’ve had about enough of all I can take

Push came to shove & I got shoved over the edge

But now were both going down cuz I’ve pulled you off the ledge

This is the point where emotions have gone astray

When kissing your mouth is like kissing a dirty ashtray

I’m not attracted to you anymore either

What you say fucked that up long ago & the knife just got deeper

This is the point where hopelessness had made it’s way in

There’s no turning back now, nowhere to begin

Words have lost their effectiveness actions no longer count

The only thing that I feel is the numbness of emotions & constant doubt

Too scared to leave, yet too hurt to stay        

We repeat the process day after day

Misery loves company, I guess that’s true what they say

A glutton for punishment & sometimes I like it that way

Because I get to at least feel something instead Of being dead inside

I’m sorry things couldn’t be different, I apologize for the tears you’ve cried

I guess my love wasn’t enough, I guess I couldn’t step up to the plate

Couldn’t do what needed to be done & I’m sorry for my mistakes

I really hate the fact that you’re never satisfied

I’m trying as hard as I can, but this is it…end of the ride

Why can’t you get over your insecurities?

This fighting is just killing me….

The nagging is too much

Can’t you just be nice for once? I thought we were In love

Let go of the past & don’t bring up things from 5 years ago

It’s time to end it & I’m sorry I couldn’t play the part in the show

So now when I touch you it’s like there’s something different

You’re randomly leaving w/o my permission

When you breathe I can tell that things aren’t right

When I lay next to you I cant stop thinking through the night

You’re isolating more & more & you don’t take my suggestions

You think I’m trying to boss you around when I want this marriage to have a resurrection

It’s dead & cold

What happened to the days where it was warm & bold?

Quit acting like you wanna be single

I can’t keep doing this cause I’m slowly starting to dwindle

Off into the darkness

I can’t lie because I’ve also been heartless

I’ve called you names, I cut you down

enough games, enough smashing each other into the ground

The guilt is all over my face

My pride is in the trash

Now we’re never gonna finish the race, were gonna finish last

You wanna fight in public, you wanna call me names

You wanna talk shit & I don’t have time for these games

You wanna talk shit on my family & fight in front of my kids

You’re a crazy ass bitch & so now I’ve flipped MY lid

You wanna hold resentments & grudges

Living in misery & I’m sick of your judgments

If you want a divorce fine, if you wanna leave then go

Yah it’s gonna hurt, but Ill get over it you know

Your lips are cold & your touch is hollow

What’s going on? Is there more misery to follow?

Eric was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Boys Town high school and went on to get a degree in Social Work. He married at 19 but later got divorced and has raised two children alone. His love for music and arts has led him to his writing. Much of his poetry and writings come from experiences and love of life. He often adds humor to enlighten and has been writing for over 20 years.

Progressive Education by Gary Beck

Walter Lancaster’s parents died in an automobile accident when he was 3 years old. The drunken driver rammed into them after crossing the divider leaving the infant the only survivor. His father’s brother, Donald Lancaster, took him in and raised him in the family mansion with home schooling.

By the time Walter was 5, he was deeply immersed in Spanish, Chinese, Tae Kwon Do, classical music, and other subjects, taught by tutors. Uncle Donald told him about his father’s work as an nuclear engineer and his mother’s work as a physicist when he was 6. From that day on math and physics were priority studies.

Uncle Donald arranged visits to other homes with children and occasional children’s parties at home. As Walter got older he seemed to have little in common with the other kids and mostly observed their behavior, trying to understand what other kids were like. Exercise, training and diet stimulated his growth and at age 10 was big and confident beyond his years. Tutors started history, economics and literature and he was fascinated by great battles. When he was 12, Uncle Donald introduced him to politics, epeé fencing and shooting. He enjoyed everything he did, but fell in love with epeé fencing. He worked diligently with his instructors, already imagining fighting a duel someday. He listened intently to the admonition: ‘Control of your emotions is mandatory for a good fencer’.

At age 14, Walter was 5’10”. 165 lbs, and completely self-possessed. That summer, Uncle Donald took him on a wonderful trip to Spain, where he spoke to all classes of people, comfortable with all of them. The last stage of their trip was to Barcelona, where Uncle Donald told him about the Catalonian struggle for independence. They discussed the issues at length and Walter was inclined to side with the Catalans.

“If they become independent,” Uncle Donald said, “they’ll fracture Spain, which will become impoverished causing much suffering.”

“So it’s more complicated than a people wanting independence,” Walter responded.

“You should do some reading about it, then decide for yourself,” Donald suggested.

They got home in early August and Donald called Walter into his study for an important communication.

“I think you should go to a good private school to prepare you for college. If this appeals to you we’ll go to Creighton, in Connecticut and see if you like it.”

Walter was more than willing. They went to the posh old school where they met with the Headmaster, who was very eager to enroll the scion of a noted family. After the tour, they met in his office and he told Walter:

“If you decide to attend, you will be enrolled as a junior. That means many of the boys will be older and bigger then you. Will that be a problem?”


“Also the school is sports oriented. Do you play any sports?”

“Tae Kwan Do and fencing.”

“Well we do have a fencing team.”

“What weapons do they use?”


“I don’t fence foil.”

“Why not?”

“It’s too artificial for me.”

“Would you do it for the sake of the team?”

“No, sir. But I’ll teach epeé to anyone who wants to learn.”

“Some of the boys may think you lack school spirit.”

“Is that a problem for you, sir?”

“Not as long as you can deal with them.”

“Then I would like to attend Creighton, sir.”

“Welcome, Walter. I’ll send you an information packet that will prepare you for classes and life here. I’ll see you September 3rd.”

“I look forward to it, sir.”

They spent the night at a luxury resort not too far away, in an exclusive suite. Later that evening Walter was reading online about the school when there was a knock on the door.

“Come in, Uncle Donald.”

He looked around and a gorgeous redhead was standing in the doorway.

“I’m not Uncle Donald,” she murmured in the sexiest voice he ever heard.

She was tall, slim, shapely, wearing a short sleeveless dress, posed alluringly. He looked her up and down and knew he would fight a duel to the death for her.

“No. You’re not.”

She waited for him to say more, but when he didn’t:

“Who do you think I am?” In a voice that matched her body.

“The assistant hotel manager?”

She glared at him for a moment, then burst out laughing.

“I’m here to add to your education. Do you know what that means?”

“No. But I want to find out.”

She shut the door and walked towards him. He got an erection and his whole body started trembling. She noticed and said:

:”Are you nervous?”

“No. Excited.”

“Good. Then you’ll like this.” She slipped off her dress and was only wearing tiny black panties. She reached for him, pulling him to his feet, saw his excitation, whispered: “someone’s glad to see me,” took out his penis, put her mouth on it and he ejaculated. “Aren’t we eager.” She slowly undressed him, caressing him, and whispering erotic comments, until he was erect again. “I’m going to show you all kinds of things tonight. Am I welcome?”

“Oh, yes.”

It was a memorable night. By the time he fell asleep, sated with pleasure, he had learned where everything could go and how to do things with a woman. When he awoke in the morning she was gone. Part of him wanted to rush out and find her, keep her captive, bargain with her, not let her go. But he didn’t even know her name. He realized that she was a gift from Uncle Donald and maybe he could ask for her again sometime. Right now he had to wonder if a girl could ever feel as delicious as his beautiful instructor. He suddenly felt ravenously hungry, dressed, went into the living room where a huge room service breakfast was waiting.

“Morning, Uncle Donald. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Walt.”

As he started preparing a mindset for school, a thought popped into his head that made him smile. ‘I’m sure glad it wasn’t Uncle Donald’.

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 34 poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of 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, Desperate Seeker, Learning Curve and : State of the Union (Winter Goose Publishing). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder, Disruptions, Ignition Point, Resonance, Turbulence and Lacerations (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Double Envelopment). Motifs (Adelaide Books). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength, Protective Agency, Obsess, Flawed Connections and Still Obsessed (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Call to Valor). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). 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, Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II and Four Plays by Moliere translated then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume III). Gary lives in New York City.