“Blackened State” by Patricia Walsh

This has got to stop, this holy affection,
breaking the plates with a golden will,
agonizing over a phase, try to enjoy
the formative giving out, a singular shot,
stacked full the pockets leaving nothing to chance.

fighting unfit, nothing really matters now,
eschewing identity for the first time,
wiping the good slate clean, back to ignominy
the mocking fear catches the info twice,
the unknown casting aspersions on a common ground.

this burgeoning temperance goes as it comes,
no longer good, the happy excoriation pays off,
taunting full measures by the unknowns,
print itself darkly, watching with intent,
associative terror did everyone a favour.

watching through the dirtied door, elected
to roll with the punches forever blacklisted,
weaving in an entity casting its down spell,
putting paid to a career in the good books,
wrapped up in a scream in getting too close.

the crooked lipstick, hastily applied,
descending on the typical like mother knows how,
wanting to be good, shattered in deleterious
blowing away for passion the coveted life skills,
the better for the quiet, an execution premature.



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.

“Legend of the Blue Smoke” by L.B. Sedlacek

Seven Cherokee tribes
the first human inhabitants along
the Appalachia stretch from Tennessee
to North Carolina
hills flowing with rivers,
streams and magical pools,
forests home to deer, black bear,
all magical too
a magical place
blue clouds
and swirling
named shaconage by
the Cherokee
— land of the blue smoke
(the Great Smoky Mountains)
(the Blue Ridge Mountains).

The smoke
the blue
its source:
breathing vegetation
volatile organic compounds
from shrubs, ferns, vines, trees
tiny gaseous molecules
combining to form particles
scattering blue light from the sky
and with the sunlight chasing
the sky, the humidity and
rainfall, air and elevation
it all makes natural blue.



L.B. Sedlacek is an award winning poet and author with poetry and fiction appearing in many different journals and zines.  Her latest poetry books are The Adventures of Stick People on Cars (Alien Buddha Press), The Architect of French Fries (Presa Press) and Words and Bones (Finishing Line Press.)  She is a former Poetry Editor for ESC! Magazine and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, Coffee House to Go, for several years.  She teaches poetry at local elementary and middle schools and publishes a free resource for poets, The Poetry Market Ezine.  In her free time, L.B. enjoys swimming, reading, and taking guitar lessons.

“For One Day” by Penny Wilkes

Place your fussy mind in a top drawer. Hear the closing click.
Hang a favorite and weighty item. You don’t need a key.
Listen for the jostling and grumbling inside. Say, “STAY!”

Put on your happy shoes and saunter out the door.
Let nature intrigue with its winter delights.
Trees will have shed their leaves but evergreens prevail.

Feel grateful release from tendrils of mind.
Go into your heart to flee into sensory experiences.

Discover your neighborhood: fireplace smoke,
a lingering rose, fresh earth, a gush of wind.
Breathe a drift of lavender. Hear a phoebe or crow’s call.

Wander until you have forgotten your mind.
Just take your time. No need to rush.
Energize the spirit and play.

When you return, open the drawer
to a renewal of friendship.



Penny Wilkes, MFA served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. Along with short stories, her features on humor and animal behavior have appeared in a variety of publications. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the LandIn Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing.

“Overlooking Cape Jervis” by Martha Landman

A twilight walk along the cliffs —
black and ochre layers,
rocks cracked and split, tempered
through eons at Land’s End,
dimensions of friendship. The infrasound
of wind turbines poised on Starfish Hill
in tune with our stories of almost forty years.

We’ve never seen the sea
so still, a silk sheet, grey
as the shadow-clouds above the cape.
Our eyes track the ferry across Backstairs Passage
from the lighthouse to Kangaroo Island.

In the saddle between the hills
a kangaroo and his mate stand guard.
We, bereft of mates through death and divorce,
linger, don’t want to turn in
for the night yet, release the day’s
findings, the fish carcass in the sand,
the smell of rotten flesh and bait —

We have never seen the whole horizon,
a wide-angle view, the earth so round.



Martha Landman writes in Adelaide, South Australia, where she is a member of Friendly Street Poets. Her work has appeared in online journals and in print in US, UK and Australia. Her chapbook, Between Us, is available from Ginninderra Press.

“November Logorrhea” by William Doreski

In the warp and woof of climate,
our faces become planets
aloft in a riot of stars.
We’ve shed our carbon-based lives
to adopt alternate spectrums
along lines of force our species
couldn’t explore in time to save
the seasons from clumsy embrace.

The government declares an era,
a lifetime of mourning to blame
for bathtubs overflowing
with suicides who neither regret
nor apologize for their loss.
We also refuse to comment;
but from unworldly height we note
how fragile certain dimensions look
when caught in the atomic gleam
of the one universal eye.

Signatures of long-dead heroes
scratch along the slick of rivers
and meld into each other with sighs
of literary but honest feeling.
We could have written thick books
collecting their narratives and mottoes,
but preferred to salt ourselves among
obituaries shaped to flatter
unrequited lyric notions.

You understand, don’t you?
The coal-fire of your temper
blackens my remaining lens;
but I still can easily trace
the orbits we’ll have to assume
if we’re to have the last word
before the overflow wins.



William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.

“Four, Three, Two, One” by Robert Nisbet

The four men would gather like geese,
cluster in the café at eleven every morning,
for a damn good cackle. Good crack.

In the Long Haul Café, they rollicked,
the four of them becoming three in time,
mocking the world of Smart-arse phones
and Farce-book. They’d all done courses once
at the local tech, and hooted now
at the Mickey Mouse degrees, the kids
who should be doing a good day’s work
(they’d done National Service themselves,
it made men of them). They loved
their mornings in the café. Then there were two.


Eleven one morning in a pretty spring,
Laurie came in slowly. Liz the waitress
brought his tea (one sugar, dab of milk),
said, On the house today. Pouring the milk:
How was the funeral? Laurie jollied,
Yup. Saw the old boy off. Good funeral.

Megan, his late wife’s cousin, came across.
Chit and chat of her son and his partner,
and Laurie, for the first time ever,
was looking at a Smartphone. She scrolled
and Laurie gazed, his understanding flickering.
He sent you these from Leeds? Two hours ago?

She told him of the boy’s degree
in retail management, and Laurie, aware
of the comforting thigh beside him
and her being there, smiled.
Sounds interesting. Sounds very interesting.



Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who lives about 30 miles down the coast from Dylan Thomas’s boathouse. His poems have been published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA, where he is a regular in SanPedro River Review, Jerry Jazz Musician and Panoply. Robert is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for his poem “Cultivation.”

“The Salmon River Trail” by Diane Averill

Seeing clearly is not
as easy as it sounds.
A young man, strong and tensile
as a sapling, moved
along the path with
a walking stick. No—
a didgeridoo.
His playing echoed from
the ground in low,
surging waves, dense layers close to the
forest floor, firm,
even as he raised it upwards
making sound into silk,
circular breathing keeping
the wild wide open.

We hiked miles, pausing
to see the way the river ran.
Then someone said, There are salmon!
There are salmon spawning!
as rocks turned into fish.
They were moving to stay
in place against the current,
males and females beaten
to white patches. They’d followed
their scent-compass to this stream,
circling all the way from Alaska,
back, called back to this
Oregon river bed where they were born.
Females flayed at the gravel,
then males rushed in,
sending white spumes over egg clusters,

and our breathing as we watched
became slow and deep, a quiet, forest music,
recalling the player and his didgeridoo.



Diane Averill‘s books, Branches Doubled Over With Fruit, published by the University of Florida Press, and Beautiful Obstacles, published by Blue Light Press of Iowa, were finalists for the Oregon Book Award in Poetry. She has had two other books and three chapbooks published since then. Her poems appear in literary magazines around the country and in Great Britain. Her work appears in magazines such as The Bitter Oleander, CALYX, Clackamas Review, CIRQUE, Poetry Northwest, and Talking River. Diane holds an M.F.A degree from The University of Oregon and taught at Clackamas Community College until her retirement.

“a tired question” by Karen Shepherd

a tired question
you ask
so I try to answer
it’s an acorn my father gave me
thirty years ago, picked up
from the sidewalk outside
the church before mass
it’s the nuthatch at the feeder,
boundaries with doors,
the blue glow easing beneath
a curtain on a snowy morning
it’s water and breath, wheat and bone,
space and form, salt and fire,
borrowed and harnessed, broken and healed,
innate and grown, inarticulate and garnished
it’s listening to my mother retell stories,
my sister hum, my brothers calling
to their children as the moon
slides into place above the restless valley
it’s swallowing a rainbow
and allowing a cerebral infusion,
it’s a stepping forward and back,
the soft lapping of currents on stone
it’s a tucking in, a tough line drawn,
a soft shadow to cloak within,
a haven, a hole, a battle call,
the moment now and just passed, it’s coherence
it’s you next to me
asking me to define this matter
we hold in this very space
so invisible, so tangible, so light



Karen Shepherd lives in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys walking in forests and listening to the rain. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in various online and print journals including most recently Elephants Never, Neologism Poetry Journal, Cirque Journal, and Mojave Heart Review. Follow her at https://twitter.com/karkarneenee.

“Scrap Church” by Stephen Kingsnorth

Orcadian surplus, cement slab,
with barbed wire set for tensile strength,
wafer, wine for inner power,
like cutting fence, buried inside.

Staple fare, without the gun,
two Nissen huts to build from scratch,
from scrap, Italianate church.

Agnus Dei, Lamb Holm,
at the edge of the world,
from Cyrene’s Africa,
desert to winter Scapa Flow;
axis prisoners make the church,
day of Pentecost again,
different tongues, yet understand.

Car exhaust becomes the font,
light-holders and corned beef tins
with spare concrete, altar rails,
steps to alter, changing lives.

Christ in common when at mass,
barrier now is false façade,
but is the host, priest, a friend
or is Camp Sixty alien men?

This, their icon, still to show
someone inside could be set free;
after war, demolition team,
refused take this hope-sign down.



Stephen Kingsnorth, (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by a dozen on-line poetry sites, including Sparks of Calliope, Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, and Foxtrot Uniform. You can find more of his poetry at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/.

“Look for Polaris” by Leslie Lippincott Hidley

Look for Polaris — Arcturus — Vega
When you wish upon a star….

I dream of dying in the Arctic night.
There are people who have themselves frozen
When they die–
Like the soil in Labrador.
Encased in liquid nitrogen,
To be defrosted when their cure arrives.

Lakes in Labrador run North and South,
gouged out by fingers of receding glaciers.
Filled with the melt of ice and snow.

I told my children: when I get old–near dying,
Take me to Baffin Island, put me on a sledge,
Haul me out on the ice and yell to the bears

An old Inuit woman, her teeth worn down
Softening seal skin.

Let the stars speak to me while I wait.



Leslie Lippincott Hidley has been writing prose and poetry for her own amusement and that of her family and friends and others for most of her 73 years. And one of her ten grandchildren is named Kalliope. She has lived in Walla Walla, Washington; Frankfurt and Bremerhaven, Germany; Upper New York State; Enid, Oklahoma; Montgomery and Prattville, Alabama; Lubbock, Texas; Dover, Delaware; West Palm Beach, Florida; Goose Bay, Labrador; Washington, D.C.; Fairfield, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and now resides in Ojai (Nest-of-the-Moon), California, where she continues to write.