Three Poems

Diane Webster

Photo Credit: Tim Ereneta/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Log and Fire

Log expands grains
so fire breathes
through veins
emblazoned with gold
aliveness, molten glass
blobbing before
form-fitting mold
cools exterior
like ash fragment
remembering burn
flutters skyward
until extinguished.

Fire pries fingernails
into oxygen-rich cracks,
snaps and smacks
merrily as it grasps
concentric rings
blazing smaller
like log’s life
twinkling embers,
lifting last ashy eyelash
before sleeping, merging
dreams surrounded
into charred midnight.


Bedroom Sounds

Sounds not belonging
creep into bedroom.
Sounds like cat,
claws ticking on floor,
but not.
Sounds of stealthy searching
ruffle papers, finger loose change
on dresser, brush gloved
hand over painted wall.
Sounds not right for my bedroom;
too light for a man,
I hope. Bravely, stupidly
I rise and don’t
knock anyone down
as I switch on the light.

Moth dive bombs my hair.
“Damn moth!” as I stab a grab.
It races into lamp shade
to beat itself against bulb,
bumper cars
with shade’s design.
I am a crazed badminton player
with fly swatter as moth
careens the room, disappears.

Sounds silent. Moth invisible.
I give up to my bed.
Moth attempts, attempts, attempts
entry to computer lights;
wishes to fly a giant avatar
in cyberland.


Fellow Travelers

After eight hours driving
it’s time for lunch.
We park among the row
of cars, SUVs, campers, RVs
and choose a picnic table
out in the weeds away
from weary, fellow travelers.

Table is splattered
with dry mud from previous
inconsiderate family members
tossing Idaho soil for next
picnicker to snarl at
which we do. We stand
and eat glad we don’t
have to sit again.

Pair of swallows swoop
under roof, dart out
startled by us intruders
who spy mud construction
of nest against wall
and forgive our previous tenant’s
inexcusable mess now okay
as we abandon picnic alcove
to honeymoon suite swallows.


Diane Webster’s goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life or nature or an overheard phrase. Many nights she falls asleep juggling images to fit into a poem. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Poets, The Aurorean, Better Than Starbucks and other literary magazines. Email: diaweb[at]

Four Poems

Melissa Evans

Photo Credit: Steve Schroeder/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

What is Poetry Anyway?

I stood in the doorway
At 6 am and saw you.
It was the sound that woke me;
The crash…
There you were in kitchen,
Holding the pieces
of a small teacup,
Embellished with sheaths of wheat,
Now dismembered,

Coffee dripping from the tabletop.

The cup was the last piece
From a set your grandmother
Gave you on your wedding day.

You turned the pieces in your hand,
The overhead light casting shadows
On your face.
It seemed like a lifetime
You stood there.
I watched as you wiped
a small tear from your cheek
and tossed the china pieces
in the waste bin,
You turned—
and mopped the coffee from the table,
Getting on with breakfast.

People ask me all the time, what is poetry anyway?

My answer is always the same;
It is the music of broken pieces
of a single teacup,
at 6 am in my mother’s house.


The Other Woman

Summer’s dying
has left a fire in the trees.
Fall burns against my skin
as leaves plunge
like flaming fists
against the window,
Threatening to end us.

I am freed now only
Through touches
And moments when you
Mount me life a madness.
Our bodies fusing,
a single flying shadow
On the bedroom wall.

Oh, how I loathe—
the keeping of myself,
The waiting for a glance.
In dreams, I find your hands
Tucked in my pockets;
Just hands and nothing.
In dreams, they take from me
A shirt, a shoe, perhaps panties
In public places—
And caress me as you would.

Somewhere right now, you are with strangers.
Somewhere strangers are filling you like water;
Unfamiliar faces spilling
From your cracked cup hands.
Oh, how cruel you have become.
I have no disguise.
I am more than a kept creature,
A bauble, a fat gold coin.
I am skin, old bones, and feeling,
Caged in a wild form.
I am a coursing force—
Tethered to you by bonds of pain’.
A revelation of years wrinkle-eyed,
wide-hipped, and losing,
Always losing you
To her,
A memory,
An enigma,
Her ravenous heart—
eating you from the grave.


Chop Wood, Carry Water

It was easy in the beginning to believe—
that you could do anything.
To be a person of action,
to take the sphere by force.
The trick is to keep moving, always doing,
Climbing the mountain to scream your name into the wind.
This is how you learn to chop wood and carry water.

The stories always seem astonishing,
The ones who manage to create
something beautiful seemly out of nothing.
Like the sound of Fall blowing across the front yard,
The wind tossing leaves like Chinese throwing stars,
The beauty cuts us with its quickness taking us by surprise.
We say isn’t that amazing?
Then where does the time go?
Meanwhile, we chop wood and carry water.

Somewhere there is a first cry, a breath,
a new thought coming through,
a vessel of being, born new.
It happens over and over again…
I think about that moment incessantly.
What will they teach you?
To scream your name into the wind?
To chop wood and carry water?

I am reaching for something intangible here,
The smell of lilac and broken stems spill
from the vase in the window,
Reminding me of something final and delicate.
The window effervesces with drops of rain
An eyelet pattern reaching through the glass,
Thin as skin,
short as breath,
and gone before breakfast.
But It doesn’t matter, really, it doesn’t matter at all.
They will dismiss this without a glance,
Busy counting breaths like pebbles dropped into a jar,
We have important things to do.
Let’s think about it all tomorrow,
today we chop wood and carry water.


Baby Doll

Cracked like an egg
And oozing air,
musked in
Behind the ears.
Blood red lips
Through cracked teeth,
Pinned down in
the inclement earth
Packed in like chum,
Tight as sardines,
Languishing in a vernacular
the delicate message,
I am pretty,
See everyone said so.
Here the body is abandoned,
Stripped and run clean through.
Look but do not touch,
Touch but do not come close.
The delicate skin
Is cold at contact.
Let us put a fine point
On the situation.
It requires restraint.
Draw back the obverse to see
Clockworks Bursting
from one glass eye.
Pull the cord
She has nothing to say,
Spiritless victim of childhood,
Crying mommy, mommy
over and over again.

Born in Texas, Melissa Evans received a degree in Literature from the University of North Texas, she is also working on a children’s book series. She resides in Prosper, Texas where she lives with her husband, Joel and her 4 dogs, Hershey, Maxie, Butch and Sundance. Email: hershey1pointer[at]

Old Poet

Timothy Pilgrim

Photo Credit: Francis Mariani/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

I find it in The New Yorker now
easier to yawn about nothing poems—

self-obsessed men, depression, sanity
on the run, priests preying on nuns.

Phallic prayer naked, life, spread wide
for redemption, full-bosomed end.

So little depends on anything
when limp metaphors droop and bend.


Timothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet and Pushcart Prize nominee in 2018, has several hundred acceptances from journals like Seattle Review, Third Wednesday, Windsor Review, Mad Swirl, Sleet, San Pedro River Review, Santa Anna River Review, Toasted Cheese and Hobart. He is author of Mapping Water (Flying Trout Press, 2016). Email: pilgrimtima[at]

Two Poems

Erren Kelly

Photo Credit: Nerissa’s Ring/Flickr (CC-by)


doesn’t have to save her people
from death and tyranny anymore
she just serves them coffee in
a little coffeehouse in Brookline

her heart no longer makes
King Xerxes go cuckoo
she shares it with the
brothers and sisters of

to look into her eyes
is to see god’s love
at work
she is a vessel,
carrying his goodness
a transmitter for his

Esther doesn’t fight her battles
in the scriptures anymore
she conquers apathy and
hate in a little coffeehouse in



he stands on the corner asking for change
and yet he sings about change
the change only comes when we stop
finding our courage in bottles of
feeling sorry for ourselves
and in doing drugs of excuses.
he sat at the table
talking about change
asking others for change, mainly.
he never liked the green chairs in the front
always in the back
the orange chairs in front, always
he was always about dirty jokes
and solitaire and street wisdom
’cause everyone who came into the
soup kitchen had their own journey
just like he did, and he always said
good morning, and dared anyone
to stop him. sometimes, he gave the other
transients change
and it’s hard to stand on our own
when systems try to keep us down
when the haves get more and have-nots
find more ways to play the victim
but he always said he chose his life
even so, we all deserve the best

I walked to the T earlier
thought I saw him in his baseball cap, turned
off to the side, dispensing wisdom
while shamelessly asking for change…

does anybody have any change?

we could all use a change…


Erren Kelly is a two-time Pushcart-nominated poet from Boston. He has been writing for 28 years and has over 300 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. His most recent publication was in Black Heart Literary Journal; he has also been published in anthologies such as Fertile Ground and Beyond The Frontier. His work can also been seen on YouTube under the “Gallery Cabaret” links. He is also the author of the book Disturbing The Peace on Night Ballet Press. Email: errenkelly76[at]

Four Poems

Garrett Harriman

Photo Credit: Greenstone Girl/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

The Spider Poem Remembered

It had short lines
only two or three stanzas
plus that extra bit
at the end.*

The spider was a pilot
then Quetzalcoatl
and the flies in its web “debris.”
An asphyxiation
of alliteration followed—
an anaerobic inch-and-a-half.

I remember looking
up the word spinnerets, too.
Grafting it oh so
strategically (like you do).

The final thought was offset:
no reason.

*(In the white right of here, nearly top
of the page: Perfection!
wrote the teacher, his blue
and damning praise.)



When Jesus broke bread,
did he pray
for a knife?
It would’ve made
things easier
to measure and spread,
pass from left
to right.

he pigeoned it,
brother pecking brother
round that table
for a night—
but all fed,
all fed.


Looking Like I Want to Jump Off a Bridge, I Find Myself On a Bridge

It hadn’t crossed my mind mid-crossing
and although it’s fine bridge-jumping weather
the plummet from this one
above an icy winter bank
(more geology than water at this point,
the skeletal musings of spring
barely high enough to break a fall)
would only snap an ankle or two, a wrist maybe,
soak my all-season hiking boots to their dusty rims,
and that’d be it.

I’d look up from that kids’ table
of failed suicide attempts, ass-planted, heels-deep,
into the bored, morbidly disappointed eyes
of the passing man who asked me
just before,
“You’re not gonna jump now, are you?”

How could I answer him? To anyone?
And what anemic imagination must he think an offing takes?
There’d be nothing to do—not really
besides waddle to shore and shrug my shoulders,
pull some line about featherweight pocket stones
and puff my Chaplin cheeks
as if I’d just missed the bus
and must now—with much sheep—await another,
presumably the last,
the bright idea of stepping in front of it
merrily whizzing by my head.
Hell, I can hear my voice apologizing.

And over there, not too much later,
in silhouette beside a two-log fire—my woolen socks
draped along a wooden chair back,
drip-drip-dripping for tomorrow.


How to Read a Birthday Card
For Kailey

Be young and crowd-shy,
harangued by a mother.

Come into your voice
like a mouse sniffing traps.

Your audience is a blind man?
Speak closer.

If nearly blind,
remember to linger on words.

Let the biggest card
buffer your blushes.

And the fold you wrote?
Read last like you planned.

That’s expected, sweet one.
Expected most of all.


Born and living in Colorado, Garrett Ray Harriman loves writing, playing saxophone, and learning languages. His poetry is published or forthcoming in Kestrel, Chrysanthemum, Atlas Poetica, and Naugatuck River Review. Lifting Smoke, Falling Mist, his first tanka-only poetry collection, also vagabonds online, and may someday find its published home. Feel free to follow his sporadic Twitter @Inadversent. Email: harrimangr[at]


Les Wicks

Photo Credit: remykennyl/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

A silent gift
though you seem unaware
like an earring dropped
the mercy of care, this
unexpected drug.

We have each other clothed only
in buttered afternoon light.
It is understood
we will tread lightly.

Our dogs have always treasured
the mysteries of human fingers.
Digits give us directions
to lovely ruin & understanding.
They stroke away the dust, the pain
of another decade’s living.
We discover this much
in sweat & laughter.

I am rich,
my poker face is broken.


Over 40 years Les Wicks has performed widely across the globe. Published in over 350 different magazines, anthologies & newspapers across 28 countries in 15 languages. Conducts workshops & runs Meuse Press which focuses on poetry outreach projects like poetry on buses & poetry published on the surface of a river. His 14th book of poetry is Belief (Flying Islands, 2019). Email: leswicks[at]

Two Poems

Tim Suermondt

Photo Credit: Vitorio Benedetti/Flickr (CC-by-nd)

The City Will Do

Best to go in later in the morning,
midweek, riding the subway
to the stop that has you come out
between the library and the church—
life and the afterlife staring themselves
down like gunslingers at the OK Corral.
Best to walk as aimlessly as possible,
chronicling everything large and small,
ugly and beautiful—keep moving,
with a pit stop at a café or watering hole,
until you tire and say that’ll suffice
and take the subway again, a good many
laps ahead of the rush hour, the work
days you remember for their exhaustion,
loneliness and, yes, moments of success
when the office bowed to you in thanks.
Watch the stations go by now in real time,
a few of your contemporaries on the old
concrete platforms waving you on home.


The End of the World Can Come Quickly

And when it does it will probably
find me sitting in shorts in my study,

trying to turn a recalcitrant stanza
into a dazzling display of clarity.

There will probably be scant time
for heartbreak, but a sober assessment

can be made beforehand, approached
like this: if I’m still writing, there is

another world—if I’m not writing, there is
no other world. How badly I want the former

to be true. I want to see my wife coming
towards me in the moonlight, waving,

oh waving with a book in her hand.


Tim Suermondt is the author of four full-length collections of poems, the latest one The World Doesn’t Know You. His fifth collection Josephine Baker Swimming Pool will be coming out from MadHat Press in January 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Toasted Cheese, Bellevue Literary Review and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong. Email: allampoet[at]

For Sale

Kenneth Pobo

Photo Credit: Richard Cuppini/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

I can’t decide whether
to buy the red pair of gloves or the black.

A high school girl runs a kiosk
behind me. A shopper comes up
and says he wants to buy me—
I’d look good beside fireplace bellows.
I say I’m not for sale—the high
school girl has already begun
wrapping me up. I decide well,

why not? My life’s a failure.
I watch shows where Marie Osmond
says she lost fifty pounds. When he
gets me home, he stands me by the fireplace.
I look almost alive. The buyer

never talks to me. Why should he?
He doesn’t talk to his ottoman either,
dusts me twice a year, the same number
of times when he makes a fire
and heats my back.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Duck Lake Books called Dindi Expecting Snow.  His work is forthcoming in: North Dakota Quarterly, Festival Review, The Fruit Tree, Backchannels, and elsewhere. Email: kgpobo[at]

Cleaning the Coffeepot

Barry Peters

Photo Credit: Cindy Shebley/Flickr (CC-by)

The nuns require weekly chores:
attendance taker, flag raiser, eraser clapper.
The one I fear is coffeepot cleaner.

The solitary confines of the faculty room.
The mysterious aromas of mimeograph and ammonia.
In third grade I know nothing about coffeepots,

their alien tops, thin cylindricals, perforated metal,
scalding water. The wet brown grounds:
Father Shriner might compare them to the muddy

sins of the soul trapped in odoriferous hell-heat
and I—well, I’m doing the good work, the purifying.
But no, Father, this is no metaphor,

no objective correlative. My first Sunday
as an altar boy, he tells me to light the candles.
I look at the matchbook, baffled. It’s foreign,

another coffeepot. I picture my mother
lighting a cigarette, my father lighting the grill.
Smell charcoal and methanol. I know nothing

about striking a match, the confident snap,
the angle that keeps flame alive. I touch it
to the wick—and to my fingers as well. That singe,

that heat, that fire: body and blood,
burning for the first time, the blister already
forming in the cold, candlelit darkness.


Barry Peters lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh, NC. Publications/forthcoming include The American Journal of Poetry, Best New Poets, I-70 Review, Miramar, The National Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Poetry East, Rattle, South Florida Poetry Journal, The Southampton Review, Third Wednesday. Email: barry.peters79[at]

Three Poems

Edward Lee

Photo Credit: ALeX inSide/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

for A

Into your loneliness
we place our voices,
hoping our words
might comfort your wounded heart.

We do not mean
to remind you
of all you have lost
by extolling the manifold virtues
of your husband
now gone, but we are foolish
in the face of grief,
never knowing whether
to share our own
or simply listen to yours.

In truth, we know, without knowing,
there is nothing we can do,
nothing better, nothing worse;
grief spreads its wings
and only flies
when it is ready to fly,

and it will fly,
it will spread itself
across the sky,
becoming a gentler being in your world,
lighter and more forgiving.

It will, it will.
This much I know.
This much, at least,
I can give you.


An End
for PW

And that is it,
isn’t it, your life ends,
but our lives continue on,
days falling into nights,
nights renewing into days,
always, even as we wish
for time to slow, stop,
for just a moment, an hour,
a day, some amount
of time so we might catch our breath,
hold it, fall into senselessness,
that the pain of your absence
might recede from our hearts,
that we might know some of the peace
you now know, pain no longer curling
your being, your very soul,
that we might think of you
without tears staining our breath,

that we might grief
without grieving, and smile
without guilt, or regret.



You like the ice cube
in my mouth,
as I trace your body
with my tongue,
not wanting me to stop
until the ice is warm water
shining on your skin.


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 Poohsticks On Ha’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. Email: lastimages[at]