PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 7; Issue 1; January 2023

PPP Ezine welcomes all poetry lovers to this new year of new dreams, hopes and poems. Happy reading and happy writing to all our poet-friends and poetry lovers. May this year bring you more beauty, more joy and more poetry.

Poet of the Month: Michael Lee Johnson

Love Symbiosis by Petrouchka Alexieva

Whisper and Shouts by Sanghpriya Gautam

For Qi Hong: The Darkest Energy in the Universe by Yuan Changming

Twix by James Croal Jackson

Micropoetry by Lynn Long

Friction Fiction by Mark Young

Woman by Mykyta Ryzhykh

God (Part 3) by Robert Beveridge

While the Young Sunbathed in Silence by Heath Brougher

It’s So Quiet by Strider Marcus Jones

celestial crow woman by Joan McNerney

Poet of the Month: Michael Lee Johnson

My Life

My life began with a skeleton 

with a smile and bubbling eyes

in my garden of dandelions.

Everything else fell off the edge,

a jigsaw puzzle piece cut in half.

When young, I pressed

against my mother’s breast,

but youthful memories fell short.

I tried at 8 to kiss my father, 

but he was a welder, fox hunter,

coon hunter, and voyeuristic man.

My young life was a mixture

of black, white, dark dreams,

and mellow yellow sun bright hopes.

Rewind, sunshine was a stranger

in dandelion fields,

shadows in my eyes.

I grabbed my injured legs

leap forward into the future.

I’m now a vitamin C boy

it keeps me immured

from catching colds or Covid-19.

Everything now still leaks, in parts,

but I press forward.

Jesus and How He Must Have Felt 

Staggering out Wee-Willy’s

dumpy dive bar, droopy eyes,

my feelings desensitizing,

confusing my avocado fart,

at 3:20 a.m., with last night

splash on Brut aftershave.

Whispering to my outcast

self-sounding is more like pending death.

My body detaching from myself,

numbed by winter’s fingers.

I creak up these outside stairs

to my apartment after an all-night drunk,

cheap Tesco’s Windsor Castle

London Dry Gin—on the rocks.

I thought of Jesus

how He must have felt

during His resurrection

dragging His holy body

up that endless stairwell

spiraling toward heaven.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 272 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, has several published poetry books, has been nominated for 5 Pushcart Prize awards, and 6 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/

Love Symbiosis by Petrouchka Alexieva

I am the grain in your shoe

That bothers you all the time.

Maybe, I cost some pain, some issues,

But you still walk with me around.

In the mornig, I’m your little excuse

to be clamsy and a little bit late

When  everything  is suddenly wrong

Or you just need to wait.

You told me you love me, I know,

There is no other way around.

I am your little regret and joy

When at night, you are awfully stumbled.

You wanted me as a glove on your hand.

I am still not that soft and cushy,

I am rough and tough, but you are afraid

to throw me away because

I am the only one to blame

When you are backwardly and  go

Through a hormonal metamorphosis.

We both know the name of this game –

It is called LOVE SYMBIOSIS.

Ms. Petrouchka Alexieva is well-known as a feminist and a LOVE poet, scholar and TV persona. She is a life-time member of four Distinguished Scholar Societies; a Cum Laude graduate at CSULA (2009) and “All American Scholar Award” recipient (2008). For her outstanding life-long achievements, Ms. Alexieva’s name was included two times among the most distinguished Earth’s citizens list of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover (2003) capsule and Science Laboratory Rover (2011) list, for which she has been awarded with honorable certificates.

Whisper and Shouts by Sanghpriya Gautam

Whispers in the crowd

Shout in absolute silence;

Thick desperation clouds

The other side of violence.

Sanghpriya Gautam is an aspiring poet who is trying to find life’s meaning in between the leaves through the busyness of life. He has done his MPhil in English Literature and is currently pursuing Ph.D in English Literature.

For Qi Hong: The Darkest Energy in the Universe by Yuan Changming

Is no other than fear, I well know that, but just

Cannot help feeling afraid you would turn away

From me the next moment, or become upset

With what I have to say, or refuse to answer my

Call, or remove me from your weixin list, or

Cut off all my links to your world before I

Weave your being into the fabric of my love, or 

Show no more initiative in contacting me, or lose

Interest in me & my life, or become really fed up

With my word-service, or stop missing me

As your old flame, or fail to pass the secular tests

Of time, or withdraw your affection under

The pressure of guilt or gossip, or lock your

Self up suddenly within the cage of traditional

Values & moral concerns… yes,

    I fear you

Would do all such things, one or another, for

Some or no reason at all; I fear you would not

Hold your love for long; I fear you would change

Your heart (again as about half a century ago

On the other side of this world); indeed, I fear

My ugly wrinkled face, shrunk statue &

Softened manhood would disappoint you; in

Particular, I fear you would stamp out my

Inspirations before I burn them into poetry; above

All, I fear you are never afraid of my fears about you

Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. 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).

 

Twix by James Croal Jackson

If there is a bowl

of Twix at work,

I will act apathetic

when others are

around. Alone I will

bury open wrappers

tenfold in the trash.

Perhaps I have been

watching too much

true crime television,

or lived in the U.S.

too long– standing

over candy, ripping open

Twix after inadequate

Twix, I find the initial

bite of chocolate

caramel into biscuit

enough to make me

want the whole stick,

the whole candy bowl,

everything I can have

that’s for the taking,

like anything has ever

been entitled to me.

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).

Micropoetry by Lynn Long

A gentle zephyr

Honeybees and painted blooms

The promise of spring

Raindrops dancing on sunbeams

A summer shower

Amid the flowers and trees

The ocean touched the sea

And in perfect symphony

Waves crashed blissfully

Lynn Long

Poet, writer, dreamer

And believer in the impossible…

Residing somewhere in time

Artist at https://hitrecord.org/

https://linktr.ee/lunadeity

With published pieces in various

online publications, journals, E-zines and anthologies

Friction Fiction by Mark Young

We lean out of the window

as the car goes

round the corner. Too fast

but we don’t care. It’s

life, it’s sun, it’s something

to do as the car

leans out the window as

the world goes round

the corner.

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.

Woman by Mykyta Ryzhykh

a woman
with tears instead of a body
digs her own grave and becomes
a small insect for big husband


Mykyta Ryzhykh is the winner of the international competition Art Against Drugs and some Ukrainian awards; laureate of the literary competition named after Tyutyunnik, Lyceum, Twelve, and has been Nominated for Pushcart Prize. He has been published many times in the journals Dzvin, Dnipro, Bukovinian magazine, Polutona, Rechport, Topos, Articulation, Formaslov, Literature Factory, Literary Chernihiv, Tipton Poetry Journal, Stone Poetry Journal, Divot journal , dyst journal, Superpresent Magazine, Allegro Poetry Magazine,  Alternate Route , Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal, Littoral Press , Book of Matches, on the portals Litсenter, Ice Floe Press and Soloneba, in the Ukrainian literary newspaper
.

God (Part 3) by Robert Beveridge



they say
to make the earth
god pulled
an allnighter
and celebrated
by conjuring up
a fluted
glass of dom
perignon.

i say
after the day
it took to make you
god went
on a three-day
m

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.

While the Young Sunbathed in Silence by Heath Brougher

It isn’t being punched in the jaw by death

or a headlock from god-

no, it’s all those wasted moments:

goodbyes that were never said,

unused hellos practised in front of a mirror,

complaints about the weather

among bus stop strangers.

Those moments are plentiful

as sand on a beach

that gets in your shoes,

under socks,

makes you swear at the blue sky,

until a high blood pressure nosebleed

wins the argument you were having with yourself,

as your own blood smells cheaper

than your grandmother’s jar of pennies,

smashed open after the funeral

because what else could you do?

Richard LeDue (he/him) currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba. He has been published in various places online and in print. He is the author of six books of poetry. His sixth book, “A Hard Homecoming,” is forthcoming in July 2022 from Alien Buddha Press.

It’s So Quiet by Strider Marcus Jones

It’s so quiet

our eloquent words dying on a diet

of midnight toast

with Orwell’s ghost-

looking so tubercular in a tweed jacket

pencilling notes on a lung black cigarette packet-

our Winston, wronged for a woman and sin

re-wrote history on scrolls thought down tubes

that came to him

in the Ministry Of Truth Of Fools

where conscience learns to lie within.

not like today

the smug-sly haves say and look away

so sure

there’s nothing wrong with wanting more,

or drown their sorrows

downing bootleg gin

knowing tomorrows

truth is paper thin

.

at home

in sensory

perception

with tapped and tracked phone

the Thought Police arrest me

in the corridors of affection-

where dictators wear, red then blue, reversible coats

in collapsing houses, all self-made

and self-paid

smarmy scrotes-

now the Round Table

of real red politics

is only fable

on the pyre of ghostly heretics.

they are rubbing out

all the contusions

and solitary doubt,

with confusions

and illusions

through wired media

defined in their secret encyclopedia-

where summit and boardroom and conclave

engineer us from birth to grave.

like the birds,

i will have to eat

the firethorn

berries that ripen but sleep

to keep

the words

of revolution

alive and warm

this winter, with resolution

gathering us, to its lantern in the bleak,

to be reborn and speak.

Strider Marcus Jones is a poet, law graduate and former civil servant from Salford, England with proud Celtic roots in Ireland and Wales. He is the editor and publisher of Lothlorien Poetry Journal https://lothlorienpoetryjournal.blogspot.com/. A member of The Poetry Society, his five published books of poetry  https://stridermarcusjonespoetry.wordpress.com/ reveal a maverick, moving between cities, playing his saxophone in smoky rooms.  His poetry has been published in numerous publications including: Dreich Magazine; The Racket Journal; Trouvaille Review; dyst Literary Journal; Impspired Magazine

celestial crow woman by Joan McNerney

they tried to tame me,

fight the monsters out of 

me;

take my wilds and cut them

out of me—

it didn’t work,

my heart and soul

are both wild things;

my heart resents being

caged by my ribs

wants to fly free to where the wild things are—

my soul wearies of people

committed to misunderstanding 

or using me,

so don’t be surprised if one day i sprout wings

and fly away to live with the clouds and the moon;

becoming a celestial crow woman instead of human

playing with my inner fire, whilst dancing in the

ocean of the sky.

Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer whose poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has eleven published chapbooks the latest being: fat & pretty (Dancing Girl Press, June 2022). She is also the author of the novella Mates (Alien Buddha Publishing, March 2022).

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PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Combined Issue 11-12; November-December 2022

Poet of the Month: Jennifer Bradpiece

When Suicide Slithered In Like A Snake by Ndaba Sibanda

The Last Oak by John Grey

My Surname is The Night by Ahmad Al-Khatat

Holy Spur by Anupama Bhattacharya

On A Rose’s Edge by Fethi Sassi

I Live by Glory Sasikala

Expiation by Guna Moran

Severe Humidity by Heath Brougher

Yearning for Thy Touch by Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein

Beach by Joan McNerney

                           Poet of the Month: Jennifer Bradpiece

The Task at Hand

Exhume the roses only

if they have meaning left to you.

I’ve hardly use for them myself.

Take the leg of the chair

to the vanity mirror.

Gather only the brutal shards.

If these split your toughest skin,

I’ll need what bleeds

collected in a cut crystal bowl

to re-examine the facets through.

If the small hairs on your

left arm lift, take the nail scissors

to them, let them fall into the bowl.

This is vital.

Rearrange every painting, the drapes,

the way the light pierces each window.

I will hate whatever you choose to change.

This is of little consequence.

Hide my favorite tweezers in the planter

or between the dusty stacks of journals

by the bed—don’t tell me!

Find my make up drawer of tricks.

There will be body bags of excess glitter.

Leave them curbside on trash day.

Any tears go in that bowl.

Amusement too.

Box each flat iron word or phrase

and store in the attic until

their re-animation dates.

As to editing these poems,

when I insist, “Poetry is

the sharpest knife

seeking the deepest cut,”

refute this.

Poetica Couture

Its that hot bath sink

into brain suds.

That half past two AM

hunger.

That trying on,

ripping off.

Trading buttons

for boning.

And in the end,

selling:

Hoping some piece of you

fits

some part of them.

Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She remains active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene. Jennifer has interned at Beyond Baroque, and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies, journals, and online zines, including RedactionsMush Mum, and The Common Ground Review. She has poetry forthcoming in The Ekphrastic ReviewStimulus Respond, and The Bacopa Literary Review among others. In 2016, Jennifer’s manuscript, Lullabies for End Times, was acknowledged as one the final ten favorites in the Paper Nautilus Debut Series Chapbook Contest.

When Suicide Slithered In Like a Snake by Ndaba Sibanda

Oh, Oh, Onah, do you sometimes soberly run your numb nose

over your armpits to detect where the odor comes from

or just revel being in denial: scapegoating, playing to the gallery?

am l talking in parables, dear daughter of patriotism?

l’m talking of how the War Compensation Fund

fell victim to corrupt business practices!

didn’t the cabinet members use it

to look after their interests?

don’t they live in obscene opulence?

Oh, Oh, Onah, don’t start me on that one,

you sought preferential admission

into educational institutions,

preferential access to housing,

government employment,

residential and business stands

and land, and was there a full stop?

let us go down memory…

do you remember on August 21, 1997

when the ruling party`s first secretary finally

yielded and rolled out a gratuity of Z$50,000

(USD 4000) and a Z2, 000 (USD 150) monthly

pension for each ex-combatant?

nose-diving, you harped blame

on detractors and the West

didn’t your president then say this?:

“there is greater readiness

than there has ever been to assist you…

we will find the money for this and we

can borrow if we need to,

have you ever heard of a country

that has collapsed because of borrowing?”

if ever there was a demonstration of populism,

when you talk of the menace of sanctions, remember

where we are coming from, your role in the mess, the rot,

Oh, Oh, Onah, what a development , that was a moment

of economic suicide , doesn’t your denying head think so?

let`s look at its disturbing, disastrous consequences …

what did economists call it? recklessness? graft? what?

guess what , trade balance turned negative

as exports plunged, citizens were heavily taxed

remember there was no meaningful investment

in the country…except perhaps for daily price hikes,

later the country experienced shortages of basic items

and state brutality and a daily dose of propaganda,

remember, how some beneficiaries went on a spending spree?

One man hiring a bus, ladies of the night…cows watching TVs !

Oh,oh, Onah, wasn’t that a moment of economic madness, too? 

Ndaba Sibanda is a Bulawayo-born poet, novelist, thought leader and nonfiction writer who has authored twenty-eight published books of various genres and persuasions and coauthored more than 100 published books.  Some of Ndaba`s works are found or forthcoming in  Page & Spine,  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, JONAH magazine, The Polk Street Review, Poetry Potion, Saraba Magazine,  The Borfski Press,  East Coast Literary Review and   Whispering Prairie Press. Sibanda has received the following nominations: the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), the Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize, the Best of the Net Prose and the Pushcart Prize. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Sibanda`s 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 book titled Cabinet Meetings: Of Big And Small Preys was considered for The Graywolf Press Africa Prize 2018. Sibanda is a three-time Pushcart nominee.

Links:https://www.amazon.com/Books-Ndaba-Sibanda/s?rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ANdaba+Sibanda

https://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/ndaba-sibanda.html.

International Poetry Review | Ana Hontanilla | University of North Carolina Press (uncpress.org)

CEArts 2022 The Polk Street Review book launch Presentations 12-16

The Last Oak by John Grey

With landscaping all around,

it’s wonder nature survives.

And when workers put down

their mowers, clippers and hoes,

relax on the lawn smoking cigarettes,

how much does the last of the old forest oaks

breathe of that second hand smoke?

Everything must be

pruned and shaped

to match the tastes, the whims,

of the rich estate owner.

Did he not see that tree

or is there a spark of some

latent John Muir aesthetic

that believes man’s plans

inferior to God’s?

Maybe he’s just a blind man

who can glean one ray of light.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

My Surname is The Night by Ahmad Al-Khatat

I once applied to work for a company,

the manager saw my surname and asked

the meaning behind my first name

I answered him that it means that during the

night I live as a joyful person in the rain,

and realize that I am not lonely when I cry

nowadays, my name is the night itself,

due to my daily sorrows that rise with

the presence of the moon along with the stars

my spirit becomes the star that lights

my path to a broken heart, walking back home,

my eyes become the autumn season that rains

yet, nobody has a moment to listen to me,

the sightless flowers whisper to the deaf branches

as I want to wipe my falling tears, but I have failed

I see death play as the responsible adult

As we low human being’s, destroy

each other’s bodies to mangled beings

the reason that holds the night as my name

is to rest the children’s mind of poverty, the

river of blood, and the imaginary of an endless war

Ahmad Al-Khatat was born in Baghdad, Iraq on May 8th. He has been published in several press publications and anthologies all over the world and has poems translated in several languages. He has published two poetry books “The Bleeding Heart Poet” and “Love On The War’s Frontline” which are available on Amazon. Most of his new and old poems are also available on his official page Bleeding Heart Poet on Facebook.

 

Holy Spur by Anupama Bhattacharya

My morning awakes to a holy spur

Leaving behind the smells of petrol

As my faith rides me home

Far away from the madding crowd.

Through the  pane I gaze and wonder

Cocooned in childhood nostalgia:

Vitality of the plains. Pondering on

the secrets of simple living

so much do I miss to capture.

En route my station.

Yet I come back every time

Waving past the beckoning paddy fields

And Kans grass like fairy’s wings.

To my vapmire’s lair.

To the taste of urban malls.

Could Eve and Adam settle in Eden

after tasting the forbidden fruit?

How could I?

With an M.A in English literature Anupama Bhattacharya is a teacher by profession. Her poems have found place in platforms like The Time of India, Ceasurae Literary Magazine and Ethos Literary Magazine. She calls herself an aspiring poet because she thinks there’s always so much to learn. Many other Kolkata based little magazines like The Beacon Kolkata have also published her work. With specialization in kathak and Rabindranritya she tries to find immanence in dance as well. An ardent lover of music, literature and poetry she believes in healing the world with words and rhythm. She can be contacted at anu14bhatta@gmail.com

On A Rose’s Edge by Fethi Sassi

He was standing alone on a rose’s edge,

Without a single word and

Looking over the horizon.

Suddenly, he took a glimpse of an olive tree kissing a

sleeping willow

tree from afar.

At that moment, poetry and space fused together.

He saw a boat near a star…

It belonged to a fisherman who lost his paddle near the water’s

whooping cough.

He quickly carried a star, walked away

And left his paddle on a rose’s edge…

Fethi Sassi is a writer of prose poetry and short poems and haiku ; translator of all his poems to English . A member in the Tunisian Writers’ Union ; and in the Literature club at the cultural center of Sousse . 1- first book entitled “A Seed of Love” was published in 2010. 2- ) I dream …. and I sign on birds the last words ) in 2013 . 3- ” A sky for a strange bird “ first edition in Egypt in 2016. Second edition in September 2018 in Tunisia . 4- published in Egypt in march 2017(As lonely rose ..one a chair) – Poetic book in 2018 Egypt ( I used to hang my face behind the door)

 


I Live by Glory Sasikala

In just outside the clock

along the periphery of your dreams

an invisible line in picture frames

as a criss-cross in your hand

in a story never to be told

in just an intake of breath

in fading ink of yellow parchment paper

in a fleeting knowledge of your soul

in the realms of the Universe

where I am with God

looking down upon you

in a dream

that vanishes like mist with the dawn

in a sudden lightening moment of truth

in the knowing smile with which I left you

once again to your mundane existence

I Live.

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.

Expiation by Guna Moran

Translated from Assamese – Bibekananda Choudhury

Motion of Life

Truthward

It is in the tonque

Where

Truth turns untruth

Or the reverse of it

It plays the game of

Cat and mouse

The winner of the game

Is finally found accused

Of hundred sins

So he makes atonement

By setting fire on the face

Of his abode

Guna Moran is an Assamese poet and critic. His poems and literary pieces are published in national and international magazines, journals, webzines, newspapers and anthologies such as –   

(i) Tuck magazine      (ii) Merak                   (iii) Spillword

(iv) Setu                      (v)Story Mirror         (vi) Glomag   (vii) Poem Hunter 

(viii) The Sentinel    (ix) The Hills Times  (x) Litinfinte  (xi) Best Poetry                 (xii)Academy of the Heart and Mind   (xiii) The Creation times (xiv)Infinite sky   (xv) International Anthology of Poems on Autism (xvi) International Anthology on Water (Waco Fest Anthology 2019) (xvii) International anthology on TIME (xviii) THE VASE : 12th  Guntur International Poetry Fest Anthology 2019. (xix) POETICA : The Inner Circle Writer’s Group Poetry Anthology 2019 (xx) Nocturne (poetry of the Night, An Anthology). (xxi) Phantasmagoria Magazine.

Apart from this, his poems have been translated into Italian and French, Bangla language also.

About The translator

Bibekananda Choudhury

Bibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothillsof Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Severe Humidity by Heath Brougher

This particular summer’s humidity sweltered 

Caused me to carry a wet rag with me wherever I went.

Once the high temperature had risen to such a level

That I could feel it sewn into midnight hours

I knew there was no redemption

And gave up on my air conditioner.

I had to drink every bottle of water I bought

Right then and there or else they’d evaporate.

I wanted to drink of azure lakes and streams.

I wanted to drink their entirety, but even they were searing.

I wanted to wipe out an entire cool pond

With my strong throat.

But I never made it there

Because this unimaginable humidity

Had dried-out my bones and inner organs.

Heath Brougher is the poetry editor of Into the Void, winner of the 2017 and 2018 Saboteur Award for Best Magazine. He is a multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee as well the winner of The Taj Mahal Review’s 2018 Poet of the Year Award. His work has been translated into several languages other than English. His newest books are To Burn in Torturous Algorithms (Weasel Press, 2018) and The Ethnosphere’s Duality(Cyberwit.Net, 2018).

Yearning for Thy Touch by Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein

Oh dear,do swing my heart

With Thy gentle touch,

Of Thine gentle hands,

Make me forget

Whatever they say about Thee.

They merely entrap me every moment.

In the sticky clay of words.

Help open those traps.

By the sweet melody of Thy flute.

I recall the countless days and nights

When I had no one.

Hold me today with Thy hands.

In Thy every presence.

Rouse in my heart.

Engulf me.

Thou joyous waves of eternal presence.

Tabassum Tahmina Shagufta Hussein is the International Fellow -2020, International Human Rights Arts FestivalWriter, ( https://ihraf.org/international-fellows) (https://ihraf.org/ ). Poet, Columnist, Translator, Contributor, DifferentTruths, India https://www.differenttruths.com/author/tabassum-tahmina-s-h/ Bangla Translator, ITHACA Foundation, Spain http://www.point-edition

s.com

Beach by Joan McNerney

My mind is an ocean

where swimmers, surfers,

sun worshippers cavort.

Long salty hair

held between

their teeth.

Flourishing

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.

PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 10; October 2022

Poet of the Month: Ndaba Sibanda

Morning Escapade by Joanne Olivieri

Decomposing Reality by James G Piatt

Keyboard by Michael Lee Johnson

 Tomcat by DS Maolalai

planted feet invest the obvious by Joshua Martin

Rise and Fall by Sanghpriya Gautam

Mucuchies by Lorraine Caputo

Piano by James Mulhern

Forest Fires by Peter Mladinic

Direction by Mark Young

                           Poet of the Month: Ndaba Sibanda

Ready To Take Off For What?

The race for space

Shouldn’t be a costly disgrace,

To cruise to the moon, to Mars

Should be more decent than a gaze,

Satellites launched or put into orbit

Should be for growth, security and what?   

Seeking New Solutions and Visions 

She claimed that her life

was deprived of livelihood,

that pay never paid her a visit,

that delight was a dim delusion,

that lying love made her unwell,  

and that her existence was a shell 

hard-pressed for optimism and drive 

to impact change , to make sense of a life

of senselessness, that she sought the thrills

and skills of parenting her boorish pair of eyes

of hills and frills with new solutions and visions.

Ndaba has authored 24 published books and coauthored more than 100 published books. Sibanda is the author of Cabinet Meetings, The Immigrant With A Difference, Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded: The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers  Of Child Marriages: Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections 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.

Morning Escapade by Joanne Olivieri

Behind fog

the sea plays hide n seek

where sea meets land

Commingling

our bodies touch

in sweet passion

Gentle breeze

warm kisses

delicately caress

our morning escapade.

Joanne has been writing for 50 years. She is a published poet and photographer. Her works have appeared in numerous in print and online publications such as The Parnassus Literary Journal, Westward Quarterly, The San Diego Arts and Poets Magazine, Nomads Choir, SP Quill, just to name a few. She was awarded a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong in 2007 by Cathay Pacific Airways for her winning entry in their poetry contest. Joanne is the founder and editor of Stanzaic Stylings Literary Ezine.

Joanne enjoys reading, writing, collecting old poetry books, live music concerts, roaming art galleries and museums, leisurely lunches with friends in diners, getting out in nature with her camera and making toys for and playing with her feathered companion, Sammers. You can learn all there is to know about her by visiting her website/blog at http://poeticshutterbug.blogspot.com

Decomposing Reality by James G Piatt

Arriving in the late hours of

an iron colored and eerie night,

rusting symbols

covered with an aging patina of dark contradictions

whispered across forgotten memories

causing screams of agony:

My crystal poems

written in scarlet ink,

were shattered by metamorphic hammers

pounding words of grief

into shattered synonyms,

causing dark allegories to become lost

inside the cold weariness of my aging bones.

While walking in a cemetery,

images of broken tombstones

in a field of unknown graves

entered my consciousness

and trails of tears melted into the cemetery’s soil

filling it with sorrow.

I sensed once forgotten memories

being awakened in my brain,

and sharp pangs of grief 

started piercing my collapsing mind

in a fit of decomposing reality.

James, a Best of Web nominee and three time Pushcart nominee, has had four collections of poetry; “Solace Between the Lines,” “Light,” “Ancient Rhythms,” and “The Silent Pond,” over 1525 poems, five novels and 35 short stories published worldwide.  He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, SLO, and his doctorate from BYU.

Keyboard by Michael Lee Johnson

Keyboard dancing, poet-writer,

old bold, ribbons are worn out,

type keys bent out of shape.

40 wpm, high school,

Smith Corona 220 electric ultimately

gave out, carrying case, lost key.

No typewriter repairman anymore.

It is this media, new age apps,

for internet dreams, forged nightmares,

nothing can go wrong, right?

Cagey, I prefer my Covid-19 shots

completed one at a time.

Unfinished poems can wait,

hang start-up like Jesus

ragged on that wooden cross,

revise a few lines at a time;

near the end, complete to finish.

I will touch my way out of this life;

as Elton John says,

“like a candle in the wind.”

I will be at my keyboard late at night

that moment I pass, my fingertips stop.

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.

 

Tomcat by DS Maolalai

stylish as a tomcat 

walking, I tell her. thorny

as a tomcat, wild as a tomcat,

beautiful and permanent

and always falling over

as walls where tom-

cats walk. you are all

these things, I tell her,

and a boy also, if you like, which is like 

a tomcat also. and more than me

a tomcat, and more a girl

as well. you are all these things,

it’s wonderful – I’m in love (my god)

with everything! I lie about,

we lie about, her legs

on mine and bent a little

like broken gutters 

hanging from a wall and creaking. 

that’s the thing – I can pull

the words sometimes. 

DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019).   

planted feet invest the obvious by Joshua Martin

that’s 11 months’ worth of

spin class vibrating throat

muscle defended parabola

plenty the dagger of a horse

head planted feet first

16 going on hydroelectric

through last worded sushi

bar way out in space station

weighing head holding starfish

interviewing presidential hairpiece

lusty rug clipped to back

shaping leopard chinstrap

approaching physical barrier

withering park ranger willful

eponymous zoning code violation  

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the books combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, M58, The Sparrow’s Trombone, Coven, Scud, Ygdrasil, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, and Synchronized Chaos. You can find links to his published work at joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com

 


Rise and Fall by Sanghpriya Gautam

I wake as from a sleep

everyday,

weaved in the rise and fall.

I rise and I fall

I sleep and I wake

I dream

but dream constantly…

Do I weave the dream

or the dream weaves me?

Does it hold dearly

the death of me?

and apocryphal me at sunset?

Like a wind that rise and fall with every breath

the sun’s loop of moodiness,

snowy light from stars glittering in the night’s eyes,

endlessly I wake and I sleep

in dreams.

In my dreams or the new one weaved

everyday?

How much of it is me?

The discovery in freezing droplets

of a mountaineer’s breath,

sinking in the williwaw

treading from eastern summit;

The drops gleam

and last as long as the memory of the thought,

of the moments,

its beginning.

Sanghpriya Gautam is an aspiring poet who is trying to find life’s meaning in between the leaves through the busyness of life. He has done his MPhil in English Literature and is currently pursuing Ph.D in English Literature.

Mucuchies by Lorraine Caputo

Golden grasses &

soft-leaf frailejones patch

the high páramo.

On scarce-tree mountains

stone walls undulate with the

earth, parceling her

into farms. Campesinos

plow fields with oxen.

Early afternoon

clouds float low, disappearing

the world in their swirl..

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. 

Piano by James Mulhern

On that gray day, you chopped the Steinway piano with an ax.

Surrounded by yellow and red leaves on the hard earth,

you raised your arm to smash it all apart.

I could only wonder. You were a man raised to think

crying was weak. Strength and power should define you.

Men like you couldn’t voice their secrets or despair.

You shattered the instrument, exorcising its shiny veneer.

Resin-impregnated paper, dovetail joints, wooden ribs,

and polished mahogany scattered around you.

Slowly the curved outline of the piano became a ragged mess.

The soundboard heart cracked. Small planks of air-dried wood

joined the miscellany of strings, keys, and padded hammers.

I thought of my mother, the day she moved out,

how you changed the locks and emptied every closet,

destroying each vestige of your shared lives.

If I had left the window to join you outside,

I would have seen your tears,

glistening strings on the soundboard of a broken soul.

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. 

Forest Fires by Peter Mladinic

Forest fires are good,

a man explained, in gym’s locker room

ten years ago. A cleansing

that makes possible the growth of new

plants, bushes, trees.

I’m not sure how that works.

It seems ironic that fire, what destroys

inadvertently creates.

I can’t look down at a tiny bush and hear

it say, Out of flames I was born.

He explained, I didn’t doubt him.

He knew fire firsthand, I gathered

from how he spoke.

I could ask my retired fire chief neighbor

How is a forest fire good?

Homes in or near one burn

to the ground. Squirrels, rabbits, deer

and birds die.

A forest fire is good.

With only a towel around him,

he sat near an open locker.

I didn’t know his name. I only saw him

a few afternoons.  He talked

about fire.

Different just watching, not being in it.

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.

Direction by Mark Young

Specificity is

not required.

          Vague words,

          curtailed gest-

ures, the new

moon pregnant

          with the old.

          Enough to

point a rough

but ready way.

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.

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

Reflections

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

Sunset

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/

https://linktr.ee/lunadeity

With published pieces in various

online publications, journals, E-zines and anthologies

https://www.elephantjournal.com/profile/zolanymph1/

http://www.arielchart.com/

http://duanespoetree.blogspot.com/

http://stanzaicstylings.blogspot.com/search?q=lynn+long

https://www.localgemspoetrypress.com/florida-bards-west-tampa-preorders.html

https://yasouezine.blogspot.com/

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

disappeared.

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?”

“No.”

“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?”

“Foils.”

“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.

PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 8; Ausgust 2022

Poet of the Month: Ndaba Sibanda

Poetry Man by Michael Lee Johnson

The sandwich by DS Maolalai

Why Would I Quit? by Heather Sager

New fuels see in the dark by Joshua Martin

The Splinter by Sanghpriya Gautam

Gift Shoes from Qi Hong by Yuan Changming

Homeward Bound by Lorraine Caputo

Leaves by James Mulhern

No Deer by John Grey

                      Poet of the Month: Ndaba Sibanda

True, Blue Or What He Flew 

Like a chick

That will grow into a cock

Qhawe was spotted the day

He was born. Elders had a way

Of sniffing at a child`s greatness

They said he had a rare alertness

As legend would have it, Qhawe grew

You`ve no clue, how blue it was but he flew!.

The Magic Of The Rainbow

There is something intriguing

about a rainbow of nationalities

and a kaleidoscope of ethnicities

not only about their various cultures,

their colours, creeds and languages,

their interests, hobbies and visions

their food, farming and fooling ways,

their menus, mannerisms and music,

but also, about their understanding

of the sense of humanity and history

rooted in their many traditional stories,

imbedded and loud in their ethnic clothing,

their lives rich in colour, diversity & detail,

teaching us about our diverse walks in life

and the need to embrace the human race

in its diversity and depth as it is both a unit

and a badge of beauty, ability and creativity

Just Her Opinions and Beliefs

She doesn’t intend to be offensively offside,

yet you don’t need to be on Sithabile`s side,

She says: you may flag, scare, scold or strangle me,

A mother`s love is a mirror of care, agree to disagree. 

Sithabile doesn’t always believe that Love and Sex

are synonymous in spite of that the worldly souls

seem to have applauded, attended and endorsed

their choreographed but contentious wedding.   

She doesn’t believe that Holiday always

depends on Hotel for business or survival

but that Hotel eats, breathes and dreams Holiday.

She thinks Holy Day is petulant, precious and personal.

She believes that Good Health and Happiness

are good bedfellows we should invite always

on our dear friends` wedding anniversaries

or birthdays. Please make a date with them.  

She doesn’t think that Money and Happiness are one

and the same, either. She believes that if she were to choose

between the two, Happiness would be the ultimate choice,

only if the absence of Money won’t  be the absence of Happiness!

Ndaba has authored 24 published books and coauthored more than 100 published books. Sibanda is the author of Cabinet Meetings, The Immigrant With A Difference, Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded: The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers  Of Child Marriages: Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections 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 has received the following nominations: the national arts merit awards (NAMA), 2016 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize, The Best of the Net Prose and the Pushcart Prize.

Links:

https://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/ndaba-sibanda.html.

Poetry Man by Michael Lee Johnson

I’m the poetry man, understand?

Dance, dance, dance to the crystals of night,

healing crystals detox nightmares, night tremors.

Death still comes in the shadow of grief,

hides beneath this blanket of time,

in the heat, in the cold.

Hold my hand on this journey

you won’t be the first, but

you may be the last.

You and I so many avenues,

ventures & turns, so many years together

one bad incident, violence, unexpected,

one punch, all lights dim out.

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/.

The sandwich by DS Maolalai

some ham,

a thick white 

slice and butter. I bite

the soft brick

and feel the evening

clearer. such flavour – 

even without 

the filling. this flatness

of cheap

salt bread – 60c

at lidl. who wants

fishes?

all we need

are loaves.

DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

.

Why Would I Quit? by Heather Sager

I touched

the glass

of alcohol—

looking—for

sweet escape—

To laugh—

until I couldn’t laugh

anymore

I wanted to be pulled

into the cosmic singularity

Running in between buildings,

I thought,

Why should I quit when

the vortex—the nothing,

event horizon—

hovers, it’s waiting for me,

above the crumbling street?

Heather Sager lives in Illinois, USA. Her most recent poetry appears in Fahmidan Journal, Magma Poetry, Version (9) Magazine, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Red Wolf, Trouvaille Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and more. Recent fiction appears in The Fabulist and elsewhere.   

New fuels see in the dark by Joshua Martin

Future bacteria saturate evolving skies

revival pig brains a theory of obesity

awkward forelimbs work the torso

through extra openings. Neck propulsion

disproportionate as tissue catapult

dazzling in its stance. An array into

bygone asteroid electric cortex box

locking fetus bookends between recoiled

medical calamity irrigation missile.

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the books combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, M58, The Sparrow’s Trombone, Coven, Scud, Ygdrasil, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, and Synchronized Chaos. You can find links to his published work at joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com.

 


The Splinter by Sanghpriya Gautam

The splinter

one which was once chipped

breaches when it again finds its chipped off space!

The blood whistles and chatters

as it drops

from the edge of the splinter–

unusually thick it appears

for it enters headstrong

in the numb flesh

craving for its split soul.

The splinter

reaches deep

oozing

expression

In not a linear trajectory.

It springs forth with a curve

attempting to circumscribe

the prelapsarian feeling.

Sanghpriya Gautam is an aspiring poet who is trying to find life’s meaning in between the leaves through the busyness of life. He has done his MPhil in English Literature and is currently pursuing Ph.D in English Literature.

Gift Shoes from Qi Hong by Yuan Changming

I believe the pair of shoes you sent me as a

Birthday gift is made of genuine leather, but

It needs a pair of socks & even a pair of

Trousers made of natural, not artificial wool

To go with it, which in turn requires an

Equally authentic leather belt to tie my

No less faithful lower body, including my

Penis that has become softened with age

As with my mind & heart, but despite all

My bona fides, my upper body is clothed

With manmade or fake fibres, especially

My face masks, or faces per se, not only to

Protect me against covid-19, 22, or anything

Else like that, but to cover my mouth

& nose in case I should inhale false air

& spit out some hardened spittle of truth

About life, about the real world. Indeed  

I am never sure if that’s your original in-

Tention, but I do like whatever is actually

Genuine, real, true, natural or authentic

While I keep walking along, or alone

Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. 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).

Homeward Bound by Lorraine Caputo

Lightning pulses greyed

twilight. Trees sway, loosening 

leaves twirling to earth.

A horse clops down this

lane, its driver’s legs dangling

o’er the wagon side.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. 

Leaves by James Mulhern

That fall day we raked leaves from behind the shed.

Smell of earth and wet decay rose in the cold air.

We could see our breath.

Worms and beetles scattered through a fence.

I saw dirt and thought we had finished.

“Not yet,” you said.

The gray sky grew darker and the wind chilled.

When your flashlight showed not a speck of leaf,

you said, “We’re done.”

Today I look at the wet leaves below.

I kneel and clear your grave.

Again, I smell the earth and feel the biting cold.

The damp leaves shimmer like tears, not many,

that drop on the yellowed grass.

“We’re done,” I hear you say.

I say a prayer, cross myself, and rise.

I see my breath and imagine I see yours.

I should leave, I think, but not yet.

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.

No Deer by John Grey

He’s hunkered down in a deer stand,

gun raised, listening for the crack

of hoof on twig, the fawn coat

passed between gaps in. brush,

jewel eyes peering through

the morning fog.

There’s life all around,

ferns and insects,

wildflowers and grasses,

jittery chipmunks,

acrobatic squirrel,

even a possum

clawing up a tree.

But all are trophy free.

It’s getting later and later.

Nothing shows up.

All he wants is

one decent buck,

one shot piercing the heart,

and it’s meat strapped to the icar roof,

one more rack up on the wall.

It’s the ancient integral,

natural law of kill or be killed,

the chain of life,

hunter and prey,

need and needed.

How can the deer not know this?

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 7; July 2022

Weather by Jerome Berglund

Poet of the Month: James G Piatt

Frogs by Michael Lee Johnson

Eyes flash and blood by DS Maolalai

Walking to many beats by Heather Sager

storing bad news in knuckle salad bowl by Joshua Martin

Heart Weeps Unafraid by Sanghpriya Gautam

Snow Clams: for Li Lan by Yuan Changming

Sojourn by Lorraine Caputo

Poets and Their Planet by Ndaba Sibanda

This Sky Traveler by John Grey

                     

Jerome Berglund is an author and fine artist who cowrote a television pilot which at a festival for them received numerous accolades including best in show. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California’s Cinema-Television Production program, with emphases in screenwriting and philosophy. Berglund is author to the novel Havenauts and the story collection Dick Jokes. His short fiction has been exhibited by the Watershed Review, Paragon Press, and the Stardust Review. His poetry appears in Abstract Magazine, Bangalore Review, Barstow & Grand, and most recently O:JA&L. A drama he penned was published in Iris Literary Journal. Berglund is furthermore an established, award-winning fine art photographer, whose black and white pictures have been exhibited in galleries across New York, Minneapolis, and Santa Monica. In another life he worked as a visual effects artist for Lucasfilm and Dreamworks, and assisted on set at Lifetime and Comedy Central. He has the unique privilege of being able to say he was once Minnie Driver’s driver. Berglund is a committed activist as well, and has been actively involved in the Occupy, Standing Rock, and Black Lives Matter movements, and supported grassroots efforts promoting the Green Party.

Poet of the Month: James G Piatt

Something Stirring

In my mind the ocean’s curling tide washed onto shore, 

And the roar descended like a waterfall of tears 

Carrying  waves of sorrow. I sensed, in the shadows in 

My mind, plumes of bluish-green moisture soaring into 

The air, then falling, and shattering against sharp, 

Ebony-colored visions, visions that caused a sadness to 

Enter my lonely mind, a mind that held dark memories, 

Memories that smoldered in the silence of ancient fears, 

Fears like ebony worms crawling through shadows 

In my mind, that echoed all the dark moments of my life.

I sensed a sound unknown except in the darkness of 

Yesterdays, a whisper traveling from a place called 

Nowhere, a voice that said nothing, yet hung inside my 

Mind, like dark tears. The briny wind forced old images 

Of dreaded things remembered into my consciousness, 

Causing a cold weariness, a weariness carried in by the 

Whispers of the dead hiding inside my nightmares, 

Nightmares created by sonorous pulses that molded sad 

Thoughts into dreadful shapes in my weary brain.

Sadness abounded alongside the stark and lonely 

Images of yesterday, twisting in and out of constantly 

Moving emotions. Like eyes of stone that see nothing, 

Yet allow scarlet tears to fall into the ebony hours. my 

Emotional-road spun its tale, as grief became part of the 

Mystic rhythms of my nighttime dreams. The visions 

Appeared over and over, then disappeared into a tilted 

Reality, and then upon seeing something stirring… I 

Wept in dread.

The New Day

The land is different now, even the back roads, and mountain passes that journey 

like frightened deer across the valley, are different. The air bereft of planes is 

immobile, soundless. We seem to exist between walls; and our vision is limited 

by the width of windows. Through the thickness of the questionable haze, we 

feel gravity pulling us down, down into scattered bits of fear that lingers from 

morn to dusk, if only in our subconsciousness. Our worries dance under the beams 

of light that filters into our minds from windows. Our yearnings fall from us as an

unreality causes an emerging apprehension. Our aging hearts furrow into the 

rusting hours of the day, and the sun seems to lack its brilliance, while the moon 

is but a dull mist of silver as indistinct as future plans. There is nothing that can 

be done about the past, no road back to the beginning, seemingly, no framework 

for the future for us of countless years. Our shadows make questions without the 

music of hope, and the day’s hours seem to be sliding away, only silence exists in 

the emptiness of the night. The drama’s stage encompassed by uncommon men 

and women, dressed in masks and the breath of people passing in white corridors, lingers 

momentarily in the third act, death.  I long for the yellow dawn with its welcoming 

hours of brightness, flowing down verdant mountains into valleys below, a day 

where thoughts of death do not intrude upon my mind, a time when the answers to 

life was simple and predictable again, without the constant threat of loss. But, alas the 

white ash of my burned and scattered optimism lay barren as the thing that intrudes, 

and secretly resides deep in the air I breathe; can destroy anything that it touches. 

Sad Unwritten Poems

Beyond the crimson-tinted horizon, 

Beyond the last light of the sun, beyond 

Vanishing time, beyond symbols, even 

Beyond the sleepless hours of a 

Caffeine-laced night, church bells 

Resonated in a poet’s mind, stopping 

Him from writing sad poems with briny 

Tears on tissue paper. 

James, a Best of Web nominee and three time Pushcart nominee, has had four collections of poetry; “Solace Between the Lines,” “Light,” “Ancient Rhythms,” and “The Silent Pond,” over 1525 poems, five novels and 35 short stories published worldwide.  He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, SLO, and his doctorate from BYU.

Frogs by Michael Lee Johnson

“Grow grass,

stone frogs,”

written on bathroom walls.

Hippie beads, oodles

colorful acid pills

in dresser drawers

no clothes,

kaleidoscope condoms,

ostentatious sex.

No Bibles or Sundays

that anyone remembers.

Rochdale College,

Toronto, Ontario 1972,

freedom school, free education.

Makes no sense,

when you’re high on a song

“American Women” blasting

eardrums and police sirens come on.

(Note: Rochdale College was patterned after Summerhill School-Democratic “freedom school” in England founded in 1921 by Alexander Sutherland Neill with the belief that the school should be made to fit the child, rather than the other way around.)

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/.

Eyes flash and blood by DS Maolalai

explaining to my boss 

that I think I’m not suited  

to the job, if I’m honest.  

rising like an eagle 

from in front of his desk.  

like a falcon. sky burning.  

words coming  

out cannon-blasts. I’ve cost 

the company money. been late 

very often. hungover. uninterested 

in canteen-room gossip. no –  

I agree – I am not  

what they’re looking for.  

go to hell, the flags signal,  

go bloody to hell.  

eyes flash and blood 

is rich wine in gold goblets.  

I get up, we shake hands 

and I leave quite politely.  

later he gives me a reference.  

DS Maolalai has been nominated nine times for Best of the Net and seven times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

.

Walking to many beats by Heather Sager

To dream colors when music is played.

To walk for hours,

listening

or with quiet thoughts.

The calluses of feet,

let them be

beloved.

Behind the breastbone

beats an invisible sun.

One day the pond and sky/clouds

are pastels that glow bright

as peacocks, tinted unicorns, oceans.

One day

the gritty air

blankets the neighborhood in smog.

Curse the damn asthma

and yet hope

one day, morning breaks…

Heather Sager lives in Illinois, USA. Her most recent poetry appears in Fahmidan Journal, Magma Poetry, Version (9) Magazine, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Red Wolf, Trouvaille Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and more. Recent fiction appears in The Fabulist and elsewhere.   

storing bad news in knuckle salad bowl by Joshua Martin

Eating // roaring teenies // released

     recent in bone marrow

     cupcake running psychotic

               // bored negotiating

         make believe shoulder

         holster // buddy // buddy //

     victorious supper club

// boisterous feedback

                      loop

            stunted       giant

growth              crustacean

     musical                  interlude

//             added               w/o

   absolute            dental

surgery                     proof

Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the books combustible panoramic twists (Trainwreck Press), Pointillistic Venetian Blinds (Alien Buddha Press) and Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had numerous pieces published in various journals including Otoliths, M58, The Sparrow’s Trombone, Coven, Scud, Ygdrasil, RASPUTIN, Ink Pantry, and Synchronized Chaos. You can find links to his published work at joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com.

 


Heart Weeps Unafraid by Sanghpriya Gautam

What life could not fill anymore

Words desire to replace

The memories entangle with imagination

The heart weeps unafraid

Sanghpriya Gautam is an aspiring poet who is trying to find life’s meaning in between the leaves through the busyness of life. He has done his MPhil in English Literature and is currently pursuing Ph.D in English Literature.

Snow Clams: for Li Lan by Yuan Changming

When I spotted your papaya steamed

With snow clams upon returning

From my night shift at Choices Market

I felt like stumbling happily into

Some heavenly fairy tale. It was real

On weixin, though I can neither smell

Nor taste it. How cozy our home is

On the screen: every day I eat, sleep

Talk with you. Our feels are as fresh

As the fruit flesh, as we enjoy our

Privacy of love as if within the shell

Of the snow clam. We kiss good night

Good morning; I work outside to make

A few bucks while you learn drawing

At home. What a virtual housewife! &

Me? I like all your artworks

Yuan Changming hails with Allen Yuan from poetrypacific.blogspot.ca. 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).

Sojourn by Lorraine Caputo

In mountain nightfall

            we traverse a ghostly world.

Pine & banana 

            trees are ragged silhouettes

in the fog. Mist & cold seep.

Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 18 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She journeys through Latin America, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth. 

  Poets and Their Planet by Ndaba Sibanda

The avid reader wanted to read,

Perhaps to read between the lines

She had various unrequited questions

Are they aliens? Where do they come from? 

Where do they get their graceful language from?  

As she read and read between the lines she concluded

That the profoundest emotions they excavate from within

On a given subject or area or their experiences and visions 

Are their magic and engine that propel them to another planet

Whose words can move mountains, whose waters flow with flair. 

Ndaba has authored 24 published books and coauthored more than 100 published books. Sibanda is the author of Cabinet Meetings, The Immigrant With A Difference, Notes, Themes, Things And Other Things, The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, When Inspiration Sings In Silence, The Way Forward, Sometimes Seasons Come With Unseasonal Harvests, As If They Minded: The Loudness Of Whispers, This Cannot Be Happening :Speaking Truth To Power, The Dangers  Of Child Marriages: Billions Of Dollars Lost In Earnings And Human Capital, The Ndaba Jamela and Collections 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 has received the following nominations: the national arts merit awards (NAMA), 2016 Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize, The Best of the Net Prose and the Pushcart Prize.

Links:

https://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/ndaba-sibanda.html.

This Sky Traveler by John Grey

The sky is wilderness.

No trees but mountains of cloud

and vast plains of blue.

Occasional hawks and crows

and jays oblige the landscape

with brief flight

but my eyes are

the true explorers here,

brown prospectors,

curious mapmakers,

compulsive seekers of life

where there is none.

I stalk the strata of these heavens,

one moment

stumbling through desert,

the next, immersed in deep forest.

Even stormy sky,

steel gray nimbus,

is my stomping grounds.

My eyes are up there

streaked with lightning,

rumbled with thunder.

And clouds break,

heavy rain falls,

but you won’t catch me

coming down

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

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 PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 6; June 2022

6.6

Your Smiles Melt My Raindrops by Shola Balogun

Robin, Robin! by David Estringel

Death of Pericles by Mark Kodama

Four Years of Service by Noelle Kukenas

Endless Options by Milton P. Ehrlich

                      Your Smiles Melt My Raindrops by Shola Balogun

The kiss of your lips

Is like the scent of lavender

In a garden after rain

Shola Balogun, poet,playwright and filmmaker has been featured as a guest writer and contributor,especially in the areas of poetry, post colonial studies and dramatic criticism to various magazines,anthologies and journals. He studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. Balogun lives in Lagos,Nigeria.

Robin, Robin! by David Estringel

Robin, Robin!

The feathery creature

Who takes only one mate.

A bloody Robin upon my palm.

Robin, Robin!

A dead heartbeat that belonged to my mate.

Mate: a lullaby at my tongue,

Saliva of crimson regret.

Robin, Robin!

Listen, but my mate still breathes,

Just the air of some other species: betrayal.

A renegade, unruly bird.

Robin, Robin!

My carcass may take a mate

But my spirit is forever yours.

I, the Robin who takes only one mate.

Robin, Robin!

You’ve failed as a Robin

Yet I will ne’er.

My soul will mate with mere loneliness.

David Estringel is an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. His work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine,Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7 Review, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains Literary Journal, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel,Harbinger Asylum, Briars Lit, Open Arts Forum, Cajun Mutt Press, Former People Journal, The Ugly Writers, Writ in Dust, Cephalopress, Twist in Time, Merak Magazine, Salt Water Soul, Cherry House Press, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Printed Words, Sunflower Sutras, Tulip Tree Publishing, Salt, PPP Ezine, Digging through the Fat, Haiku Journal, and The Good Men Project. He is currently a Contributing Editor (fiction) at Red Fez, Lead Editor/columnist at The Good Men Project, and an editor/writer at The Elixir Magazine. David can be found on Twitter (@The_Booky_Man) and his website at http://davidaestringel.com.

Death of Pericles by Mark Kodama

Pericles lay on his sweat soaked back in bed, his head propped up by pillows,

Listless, with pale skin and dark circles ringing his eyes,

A shadow of his former self.  He vainly hoped the amulet hung

By a string around his neck would save him from the plague,

Sweeping through walled Athens now under siege

By the Spartans and their allies in a fight to the death.

The god-like Pericles, with his oversized head and

Oversized confidence, dominated his enemies

And built the Parthenon.  The nobleman who led

The commoners just a few years ago distained

Superstition as the absurd fear of the ignorant.

But outrageous fortune has a way of humbling

Even the most prideful of men.  War and plague

Had taken Pericles’s two adult sons and many

Of his closest friends.             Pericles, who once could do no wrong,

Was blamed by the people and stripped of his power.

Pericles – burning with fever – weakly raised right hand,

Asking for water in the same baritone voice

That once reverberated through the Assembly,

The Thracian slave girl – immune from plague –

Brought him water and changed his bedpan

And soiled bed clothes.  She sponged his fevered body.

Aspasia – his hetarai wife – cried in the adjoining room

As her young son Pericles the younger clung to her.

Pericles the elder, the former giant of Athens, the builder

Of cities, closed his eyes and slipped away.

Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two sons.  He is currently working on Las Vegas Tales, a work of philosophy, sugar-coated with meter and rhyme and told through stories.  His short stories and poems have been published in anthologies, on-line magazines and on-line blogs.

Four Years of Service by Noelle Kukenas

Memories stretched across time and space

San Antonio, Denver, Anchorage, Mountain Home

Mountain Home??? Yes…..it isn’t hell but you can see hell from here

That’s what they said

Lackland AFB – San Antonio TX

Lining up for chow – breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Lining up to march – to class, to get fitted for uniforms, to be physically examined

Lining up for mail – precious connections to my former life and those who love me

Lining up to leave – goodbye basic training

Lowery AFB – Denver CO

Grabbing a bite in the cafeteria before rushing to class

Getting to know my roommate and dorm mates

Going out with new friends to explore a new city

Gosh, this feels just like college – except for the uniforms

Elmendorf AFB – Anchorage AK

Taking the time and effort to form friendships that will last a lifetime and span the globe

Tearfully meeting the President and remembering why I serve

Testing my boundaries with authority – I should know better

Training for Arctic warfare – is this why it’s called the Cold War

Mountain Home AFB – Mountain Home ID

Finally adapting to married life, pregnancy, and the desert

Figuring out how to be a mother while still serving as a soldier

Fighting discrimination from all directions

Finding support from my sisters in uniform – and some of the men

Four years, four bases, four promotions

Many challenges, many friendships, many rewards

Glorious scenery, glorious experiences, glorious personal triumphs

Sisterhood at its best

Noelle Kukenas began writing around the age of nine and continues to this day. She enjoyed working in several career fields, many which allowed her to contribute as a technical writer in some capacity. Her published works include a short story in Scraps To Scribes and poetry in Sisterhood 4: We Are Women. Recently retired from the nonprofit sector, Noelle enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, creating havoc with her grandchildren, and enjoying the California sunshine!   

Endless Options by Milton P. Ehrlich

Are you awake

to what you

choose to do

with the rest

of your life?

Sit, stand, walk

or mark time.

Swim in an ocean,

hang from a tree,

or bury yourself

deep in the ground.

Cry about the past

or be a circus clown

without a frown

about the future.

Doing nothing

can sometimes be

a necessary time out.

Try being present

for the present,

and, you can fly

with one wing.

Follow the North Star.

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87- year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

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PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 5; May 2022

6.5

Lullaby for a Politician by Jennifer Bradpiece

Self-possessed by Guna Moran

Start reading again by David Flynn

Imprint by Joanne Olivieri

DonkeyWork by Patricia Walsh

                      Lullaby for a Politician by Jennifer Bradpiece

for dad

When I say, “I knew this would happen,”

my mother looks like she wants to slap me.

And who could blame her.

I’m portending my father

landing in the emergency room

the very day the old dog passed

with the same certainty one might lament

a full glass toppling off a table’s edge.

Where were my minders?

I had nearly misplaced an entire continent.

I turn on the television to keep the younger dog company.

Ernest Cossart’s Irish brogue gently chastises,

“Ah, there’s a real piece of idiocy—woman’s instinct—

every slab-sided female in the world is a crystal gazer—

she’s magic. She can fore-tell the future—like a politician.”

Flustered, I grab my water bottle, recheck the emergency number.

As I wheel around before closing the door,

I see Ginger Rogers, black and white in soft focus.

She spins around at her door, facing me

and an off-camera Cossart.

All the way down the hall her plucky voice follows me,

“And don’t you worry about me pop, cause I can take care

of myself alright! Goodbye pop!”

Jennifer Bradpiece was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where she still resides. She tries to remain active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene. Jennifer has interned at Beyond Baroque and often collaborates with multi-media artists on projects. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in various anthologies, journals, and online zines, including Redactions, The Common Ground Review, and The Bacopa Literary Review . She has poetry forthcoming in Breath & Shadows among others. Jennifer’s manuscript, Lullabies for End Times will be available in early 2020 by Moon Tide Press.

Self-possessed by Guna Moran

Joy flee at the first opportunity

It does not give company always

Like sorrow

Sorrow is the true friend

It is not ethereal like happiness

Whose life partner is sorrow

Sorrow is one’s happiness

Happiness is dream

Sorrow is reality

Absurd dream is not my longing in reality

So I do not say myself to be unhappy

Even if I’m not happy

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

Guna Moran is an assamese poet and critic.His poems are being published in various international magazines,journals and anthologies.Apart from this,his poems have already been translated into more than twenty foreign languages.

Start reading again by David Flynn

Start writing again.

But why?  No one hears.  No one

notices my words.

So wake up there, you.

Slap.  Pay attention.  Love.  Care.

React.  Now you stare.

Rise from the sofa.

Scream.  It’s a start.  Now sit down

again.  You have changed a bit.

.

David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN.  His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher.  He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia.  His literary publications total more than two hundred.  He lives in Nashville, TN, where he is director of the Musicians Reunion, an annual blues music festival now in its 37th year.  He currently teaches at Tennessee State University.

Imprint by Joanne Olivieri

At dusk

a quiet silence rests

sipping merlot

on white sands

Sunset minuet

permeates the sky

cotton candy clouds

pattern a natural masterpiece

You tell me you love me

as the moon debuts

we jazz it up

leaving imprints

Along the shore.

Joanne has been writing for 50 years. She is a published poet and photographer. Her works have appeared in numerous in print and online

publications such as The Parnassus Literary Journal, Westward Quarterly, The San Diego Arts and Poets Magazine, Nomads Choir, SP Quill, just to name a few. She was awarded a round-trip ticket to Hong

Kong in 2007 by Cathay Pacific Airways for her winning entry in their poetry contest. Joanne is the founder and editor of Stanzaic Stylings Literary Ezine. Joanne enjoys reading, writing, collecting old poetry books, live music concerts, roaming art galleries and museums, leisurely lunches with

friends in diners, getting out in nature with her camera and making toys for and playing with her feathered companion, Sammers

You can learn all there is to know about her by visiting her website/blog

at http://poeticshutterbug.blogspot.com  

DonkeyWork by Patricia Walsh

The rotten learning code of excavation

Becomes your physique in spite of joy

Muscles where hidden comes to the fore

Sacrilegious sunscreen carving the timeline

Pain where deserved, a lesson interrogated.

Like a maniac, proving my ability

Digging nails into warmest flesh

Covering sins with the neatness of dalliances

Truth of love covering over sins,

Dedication on the outskirts of learned ridicule.

Full-on assault to shore up an acquaintance

Kissing for propriety a singular aim,

To charm back affection is no good

Eventual distance rests its case

Smirking over your beverage is some defence.

God, cold as ice, diverges our paths.

How can somethig so good turn out so badly

Swallowing pills en masse to knock consciousness

Where it hurts, naming the unnameable

Explaining away your part in the affair.

Staring at the four walls, illiness redeemed

Catching attention is not all it seemed.

Nor right to depression callled out of bounds

Sinking into clay a luxury

Roulette of medicine coming into play.

Some death wish sizes me and you

An unholy mantra pervades my being

Mercy on real terms is the way do go

But I cannot see past my guilty hands

Nor time the assault to a tee.

A lonely pedigree is all that is left

Counting backwards is the sin making graves

The local diaspora baying for blood

You leading the way, spotless in in your prime

Choosing your collective makes it worse.

Sleeping at midday, tears on the sheets

Love denied slices my very innards

A raw ecstasy parcelling my zeitgeist

Evaporating sympathy from all concerned

God being silent when it’s too late.

Slitting myself into a box too small to count

Demanding apologies from everyone around

Too late of course, tracks being covered

Theories of disappearance wash the night away

Under cover of free alcohol, and food.

Consumed under dark, a quota of kisses,

Cruelly denied, or taken up, as for sure

Prime position for  loyalty cards

Laughing at my tawdry arguments

In the same place where I left it.

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland.  To date, she has published one novel, titled The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014, and has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010. She has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  These include: The Lake; Seventh Quarry Press; Marble Journal; New Binary Press; Stanzas; Crossways; Ygdrasil; Seventh Quarry; The Fractured Nuance; Revival Magazine; Ink Sweat and Tears; Drunk Monkeys; Hesterglock Press; Linnet’s Wing, Narrator International, The Galway Review; Poethead and The Evening Echo.

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PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 4; April 2022

6.4

Poets Die by Michael Lee Johnson

Low Tide by John Grey

Cloudiness by Eliza Segiet

Dream Cadence by Wayne Russell

Enabling Cookies by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

                      Poets Die by Michael Lee Johnson

Why do poets die;

linger in youth

addicted to death.

They create culture

but so crippled.

They seldom harm

except themselves—

why not let them live?

Their only crime is words

they shout them out in anger

cry out loud, vulgar in private

places like Indiana cornfields.

In fall, poets stretch arms out

their spines the centerpiece

on crosses on scarecrows,

they only frighten themselves.

They travel in their minds,

or watch from condo windows,

the mirage, these changing colors,

those leaves; they harm no one.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL.  He has 244 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 43 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 3 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 536 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/.

Low Tide by John Grey

The sand’s as gray

as the low sky.

It’s not smooth

but a series of gutters

in which tiny creatures

grapple for what they can live with.

Exposed rocks seem proud

of their slimy skin.

Abandoned sea-weed stinks

like a brothel

at the end of the midnight shift.

Some mottled shells.

Bubbles of sour foam.

Once, this was where life began.

It remains, to this day,

the inspiration.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.

Cloudiness by Eliza Segiet

I hide

in the silence

of uncertainty of tomorrow,

I am glad,

that today the sky is

above me.

I tell a tale from the clouds,

although I do not know

how it ends.

The wind gives an ending,

until the sky does not open

– I look,

because I see shapes in the sky from down below.

Beautiful are cloudy travels

and cloudiness of the sky

is beautiful.

[Translated by Artur Komoter]


Chmurność

Chowam się

w ciszy

niepewności jutra,

cieszę się,

że dzisiaj nade mną jest

niebo.

Opowiadam bajkę z chmur,

choć nie wiem

jak się skończy.

Wiatr daje zakończenie,

póki niebo się nie otworzy

– patrzę,

bo w niebie widzę kształty z ziemi.

Piękne są chmurne podróże

i chmurność nieba

jest piękna.

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.

Dream Cadence by Wayne Russell

A sparrow whistled a song into my ear last night.

Death is always a heartbeat away, life is an echo,

snuffed out all too soon.

The grass sings a serenade, soothing natures fleeting

breath.

While an ancient lullaby reaches its crescendo, she

dances upon this midnight dream cadence.

Peering through tear stained windows, outside where

innuendos swirl in vacant breeze.

We were here, do you remember?

Yes, it was we, when we were one and not two,

cascading and thus sealed over, simplified by

the finality, reaching its terminus point.

Life plays the sad song so out of tune, death stares

us down like a red-tailed hawk in the midday heat. 

Wayne Russell is or has been many things in his 49 years on 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 kind editors at Ariel Chart  nominated Wayne for his first Pushcart Prize for the poem Stranger in a Strange Town. “Where Angels Fear” was his debut e-book, but due to unforeseen circumstances, it was pulled from the publishers’ list of titles recently.    

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

be.       

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.

 

PPP Ezine: Poetrypoeticspleasure Ezine. Volume 6; Issue 3; March 2022

Poet of the Month: Noelle Kukenas

The Unrealized Dreams of the Night by Edward Lee

Earth Poems by Shola Balogun

Wicked Resuscitation by Thomas M. McDade

Someone loved me once by David Estringel

A Quiet Place to Think By Mark Kodama

From Beginnibg to End Liao by Daniel de Culla

Adoption by Ahmad Al-Khatat

Elephant and Castle Underground Station by Eadbhard McGowan

My Heart Beats For You…. by Eric Golden

Poet of the Month: Noelle Kukenas

Still I Believe

The door slams shut

Opportunities denied

No (fill in the blank) Allowed

Still I Believe.

The money has run out

No way to provide

The cupboards are bare

Still I Believe.

The pain is too great

My strength is diminished

Memories are blurred

Still I Believe.

There’s nothing left

Even the ashes drift away

Leaving only scarred earth

Still I Believe.

The final call sounds

I’m taken away

Never to return

But – Still I Believe.

The Kingdom

This makes no sense

trapped inside an unexpected and unexplained mess

created from what madness?

what illness?

or sheer indifference?

The Caustic Queen

perched upon a throne

grins like a Cheshire Cat

watching the struggle with evil glee

greedily consuming the entire kingdom.

The Kingdom?!

Once an admirable work of financial art, prudence, and discipline

shining in splendid glory

an example to emulate

carefully crafted and created with intention to care for others.

Now a burned-out shell of its former self

an unrecognizable wasteland

littered with broken promises

sucking the life out of the remnants of prior greatness.

Starving children dig through the ruins

searching for any scraps or crumbs

of the future once promised them.

While the One who-should-have-gone-first

feasts upon the riches of others

tossing aside the bones

to be scattered

among the chaos.

Noelle Kukenas began writing around the age of nine and continues to this day. She enjoyed working in several career fields, many which allowed her to contribute as a technical writer in some capacity. Her published works include a short story in Scraps To Scribes and poetry in Sisterhood 4: We Are Women. Recently retired from the nonprofit sector, Noelle enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, creating havoc with her grandchildren, and enjoying the California sunshine!

The Unrealized Dreams of the Night by Edward Lee  

In the centre of the night

there was a crescent of light

which was not the moon

nor some distant and dying star;

something was about to begin,

something previously unknown,

with no one

to witness

in these hours when time

exists outside of existence,

only lazily destined to hear, after,

its echo as it faded from sound

into a crescent of light,

the remains of possibilities

and wishes unmade.

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection “Playing PoohsticksOnHa’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com.  

Earth Poems by Shola Balogun

Wine for your thoughts.

Raft of corn seeds,

Whispers in the attic,

The locked eyes in the helve,

The treading of the sole of the foot

In the winepress. You heard tell

That trampling tongues

Birth Belial roots

In the dark pool of rushes?

Child, meddle not with the shadows.

Stones tasted wine in time past.

Shola Balogun, poet,playwright and filmmaker has been featured as a guest writer and contributor,especially in the areas of poetry, post colonial studies and dramatic criticism to various magazines,anthologies and journals. He studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. Balogun lives in Lagos,Nigeria.

Wicked Resuscitation by Thomas M. McDade 

I knew a woman

who lived in an old

apartment complex.

Once when we stopped

at her place after partying

she snapped

the light on and it was

as if we’d interrupted a

cockroach Mardi Gras

and I didn’t pick that

event out of the blue—

it was precisely that

time of the year.

My friend didn’t panic,

said those insects

were preferable to mice.

The bugs quickly scattered

and I wished they’d remained

a minute or so longer

to deep freeze in my mind:

a paper was soon due

on Kafka’s Metamorphosis.

I planned to argue

metaphor vs. reality.

Visiting next,

after the monthly

pesticide application.

I picked up five victims

expired in a kitchen corner

closed a fist around them

as if administering some sort

of wicked resuscitation.

Closing my eyes, I imagined

Kafka high on something

better than pesticide doing the same

telling his partying friends

just watch my burdens

someday turn me into one.

Thomas M. McDade is a 73 year-old resident of Fredericksburg, VA. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Someone loved me once by David Estringel


Buoyant hustle emerging from smokey  fields,
It is his voice that sings me to peace.
Capacious affection  breathing down my neck
Like sun rays warming my skin.
I have been the metaphor of destruction
And he, the metaphor of revival. 
Feral detest bubbling within the cauldron of my chest
But overridden by his sweet summer scent.
Someone loved me once;
He loved me enough to make me love myself.

David Estringel is an avid reader, poet, and writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, & essays. His work has been accepted and/or published by Specter Magazine, Literary Juice, Foliate Oak Magazine,Terror House Magazine, Expat Press, 50 Haikus, littledeathlit, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Route 7 Review, Setu Bilingual Journal, Paper Trains Literary Journal, The Elixir Magazine, Soft Cartel,Harbinger Asylum, Briars Lit, Open Arts Forum, Cajun Mutt Press, Former People Journal, The Ugly Writers, Writ in Dust, Cephalopress, Twist in Time, Merak Magazine, Salt Water Soul, Cherry House Press, Subterranean Blue Poetry, Printed Words, Sunflower Sutras, Tulip Tree Publishing, Salt, PPP Ezine, Digging through the Fat, Haiku Journal, and The Good Men Project. He is currently a Contributing Editor (fiction) at Red Fez, Lead Editor/columnist at The Good Men Project, and an editor/writer at The Elixir Magazine. David can be found on Twitter (@The_Booky_Man) and his website at http://davidaestringel.com.

A Quiet Place to Think By Mark Kodama

I need a quiet place to think,

A shaded spot beneath the pomegranate tree,

Isolated from man and beast,

A platonic spring from which to drink,

Stillwaters for reflection

On all of life’s imperfections

In an ugly and chaotic world

Full of beautiful contradictions.

I need a quiet place to think,

A safe harbor to hear my inner voice

Whispering its truths to me

In all the colors of the rainbow.

A spot in the shade to meditate,

For ideas to gestate.  A place

For the butterfly to nourish itself,

Before taking winged flight.

Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C.    His short stories and poems have been published in anthologies, newspapers, journals, magazines and on-line blogs.

From Beginnibg to End Liao by Daniel de Culla

From beginning to end

is explained absolutely everything worth knowing

about absolutely nothing.

Why not’?

We felt that the Beginning is a true leaf

of the inmortal literature

as a side of bacon changing the pig

discovering the best way to keep its legend alive

encouragingmytology

and the controversy about it:

Sun wil have its tide spreading over our maps

Moon remembering us we were gone

and we still sing everything waiting

for birth, death

inside this den of us.

Spring, Summer, Autum, Winter

coming with feelings of love, radiance

quiet and delight

As ever.

Daniel de Culla is a writer, poet, and photographer. He’s member of the Spanish Writers Association, Earthly Writers International Caucus, Poets of the World, (IA) International Authors, Surrealism Art, Friends of The Blake Society, and others. Director of Gallo Tricolor Review, and Robespierre Review. He participated in many Festivals of Poetry, and Theater in Madrid, Burgos, Berlin, Minden, Hannover and Genève .He has exposed in many galleries from Madrid, Burgos, London, and Amsterdam. He is moving between North Hollywood, Madrid and Burgos; e-mail: gallotricolor@yahoo.com

Adoption by Ahmad Al-Khatat

When I was a teenager
I donated to a little orphan
since then I made a vow that 
I would adopt her, and marry her

Days go by and nights come 
I learned how to hurt myself 
by doing bad habits that will 
guide me to die below the bridge

I lost count of my harmful cuts 
I lost all the joyful memories and 
moments from weeping beneath 
the lights of the miserable bar

My mother thought that I was well,
As my smile hid the tears that 
damaged my physical therapist 
within minutes after hearing me

I lost many chances and luck
until I met a broken heart,
she cried when she knew that I 
found what was missing of me

I found her 
between all of my poetry
between all of my cigarette smoke 
I tried to lose her
as I saw my shadow following her

Ann you didn’t adopted a regular girl
you have definitely raised one angel
that showed me life with colours
From your love and care for my princess

the grief inside of me has smiled when
your daughter kissed my salty lips and 
wiped my tears, hopefully she will
close my eyes after my smiling face rests

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.

Elephant and Castle Underground Station by Eadbhard McGowan

Waiting in the dark, we dream of light;

deep, underground, we hear detonations,

vibrations of bombing causing fright,

impact of loads dropped on a town.

What awaits us outside is unknown,

when we inch to daylight with we desire:

a day darkened by smoke

or a night glowing with fire?

Grasped by fear and helplessness,

by air raids and trembling walls,

recognising nightmare’s relentlessness

in the horror of today’s sundown

when night falls like a gown

and sirens sound the all-clear,

in these days of war and fear,

in shelters with neighbours and strangers.

Wherever we look into dark future’s night,

far from the here and now, flickering light,

far from home, hoping, and hearing

the word without knowing its meaning.

Did we see warnings looming up?

Signs on the wall, in Belshazzar’s hall?

Did we anticipate tyrants, invasion, depravity?

Victims, the dead, the bombs on Coventry?

Sons of the land clothe themselves with death,

arm themselves to kill their own kind

in the places of horror, up and down the land.

Dream weavers weave a wreath,

money counters count and pay in kind;

armourers forge, steel unsheathed;

soldiers kill; leave thousands bereaved:

we are all led like puppets on a string.

In the city of lost angels,

a masked man sharpens his black scythe,

saddles his mighty horse

for the very last fight.

Burn, Phoenix, that your ashes bear fruit,

keep your heart’s blood, Pelican, to feed us.

Grim Reaper has his harvest time.

We hear graveyard bells chime.

Almost filled is the hour-counting shadow glass;

nearly faded, are pottery shards with your name,

the Tree of Life, standing pale in the rain;

wilted, the rosebush that lived your love,

windblown breath that carries your words,

naked, featherless- lonely peace dove.

Go where you have never been before,

where yet so many wait.

Eduard Schmidt-Zorner is an artist and a translator and writer of poetry, crime novels and short stories. He writes haibun, tanka, haiku and poetry in four languages: English, French, Spanish and German and holds workshops on Japanese and Chinese style poetry and prose. Member of four writer groups in Ireland and lives in County Kerry, Ireland, for more than 25 years and is a proud Irish citizen, born in Germany. Published in 60 anthologies, literary journals and broadsheets in UK, Ireland, Canada and USA. Writes also under his pen name: Eadbhard McGowan 

My Heart Beats For You…. by Eric Golden

Let me touch your beautiful soul

Don’t you know I need someone to hold

To fill me up until I overflow

Brimming with happiness & never wanna let it go

You walk thru my door bringing in rays of sunshine behind you

Your presence is soothing & relaxing & yes this is true

You have handfuls of peacefulness & you come over with a heart full of content

The moment you walk thru the door I’m hoping the opposite way you will have never ever went

A smile full of beauty, a soft gentle touch to warm the heart

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, this wasn’t how it was supposed to start

But now it is & were trapped in each others ideas of what could be

We want to take it to the next level, to see what it is it should be

So what feels like years, has only been days

I can’t help myself cuz u got me feelin like I’m in a daze

& what feels like days feels like years

I’m ready to let you in, so please help me walk thru these fears

I told you that you’re at the top of my list, so there’s no one else above you

& it’s getting to the point where I want to tell you _ ____ ___

& our souls braid together in order to become one

& when we make love it’s like the rising of the sun

I gotta make sure the timing is correct

Don’t want to let you down, truly out of respect

But I’m willing to take a chance & risk it all for the thought of us

It’s going to take a lot of respect, honesty, love, & trust

Soft touches that make us blush

Take your time so we don’t have to rush

But now it’s time for you to go & I’m not sure when I will see you again,

But the more were together the more I like you for more than just a friend

If I get the chance I’m gonna keep you all to myself

I’m willing to let my guard down but please be careful nursing my heart back to health

I need you to support me in my goals & dreams

I need you to never leave

I need your nurturing touch

You see, I need you so much

Our hearts best in tandem

We both breathe in unison

I’m hoping that when my phone goes off that it will be you again

So never despair My love because I will be your hero

Even when we’re apart I promise I’m still here though

Your voice sounds so at ease

Like on a bright sunny day w the wind blowing thru the trees

It soothes me, comforts me, & heals me

I want to love the real you & you to love the real me

So let us not get lost or caught up in doing the wrong thing

Because if we allow love to flow, then happiness it will bring

______, my heart beats for you…..

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.