“The Hive” by Robert Nisbet

The far West of Wales, 1965

Rhys and John were Victorians, after all,
born 1892 and ’4,
so in Arnold’s café, in the mornings
(Arnold had laid the papers in),
they’d read of London and the 60s
with mounting shock. The Sun, The Mail, Express.
Permissive horrors showered on their heads.

Then came the girl and boy, in London now.
She was young Mamie’s niece, the girl,
on a history course in King’s.
(And Rhys and John would read of miniskirts,
the King’s Road, Chelsea, Rolling Stones.
Their wives damned blisters off the miniskirts
and all who strutted in them. Hmmm.)

And the boy, a nephew of Butler the coal,
and he was at that Economics place.
Demos, riots, Chairman Mao.
But they started coming to Arnold’s often,
and reading The Guardian, on holiday mornings,
talking to Rhys and John across the room.
(telling them of trad jazz and espresso bars,
of Marx and the ancient Greeks.)

He was a nice lad and, what with that,
and the lovely girl she was,
Rhys and John were radicalized,
late in quotidian lives.



Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet, living a little way down the coast from Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse. He has published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2020 with “Cultivation” (Sparks of Calliope, 2019).

“the after” by Geoffrey Aitken

on those athletic blocks
keenly balanced
expectantly alert
she knew
her training would propel her
down that track
the moment
the starter’s pistol fired
but she also knew
there was a choice
a contested decision
regarding those left behind
the obligation
and insistence

others must follow



Geoffrey Aitken is regarded as an emerging poet in his home state of South Australia and is gaining increasing momentum with publishers like Underground Writers: Issue 27 & 28 (AUS), Glass Journal: Poets Resist (US), Flashes of Brilliance (US x 2), Aesthetica (UK) and Pomme Journal (Fr). He writes pithy poetry (after years of poor mentals) and is concerned about our youth and the problem of mental health along the avenues. He does not dwell. He is older and reads at open mic events in his outer suburbs when timely.

“Memories” by Sheikh Ahamed

(A tribute to my childhood friend)

With futile attempt to reminisce the past
And recollect the moments we met last,
Antiquated by time and separated by distance,
Yet bounded by our common roots of existence,
I try to navigate through my blurred memories,
As my mind flashes over the childhood journeys,
Like the person in the dark desperately groping
To make a move with the blinking light of lightning.

I see now the vast vivid vista of our good old days
While the past echoes like a thundering fury of blaze.
O my dear friend! I remember everything my friend!
When we were as carefree as fawn in our homeland,
Where we could see fire flickering far,
During the night on the hills of Bhedetar.
Many a time we flew the kite over the mountains,
With the birds flying in hundreds and thousands
In the blue sky towards the unknown destination
When the sun would set in the mellow red horizon.

We waded the rivers and climbed the hills,
We hiked the woods and had the thrills.
I had a plan that we would one day get together
And warm our tired bones beside the homely fire,
Sharing our thoughts and childhood memories
To relive and narrate all our life’s vagaries.
But now I stand dumbstruck as your days are done
And I wonder how sudden everything can be gone.
So Rest In Peace my dear friend, Rest In Peace!
Hope your soul gets the solace of heavenly bliss!

Though curtain is drawn and the play is over
Those rivers will remain endless forever and ever!




Sheikh Ahamed was born and raised in Dharan, Nepal. An international graduate student, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University. Ahamed previously worked as a Research Engineer at the University of Akron (Ohio) for three years before moving to Iowa. He graduated from the University of Akron in May 2017 with an MS in Mechanical Engineering. Apart from analyzing numbers and graphs as a researcher in the field of engineering, Ahamed loves to visualize with mind’s eye the deepest dark corners of human psychology and portray them through poetry. Most of the imagery in his poetry is inspired by his homeland.

“Spite” by Rose Mary Boehm

I pulled up my collar.
Discreet dark-blue scarf
wrapped around my mouth.
Dark glasses.

Right at the front.
but for the camera.
Just another groupie.

Hundreds of years
after leaving this town
I had nothing better
to do than freeze
on this winter day in London,
outside my famous
ex’s town house.
And there he was.
A common sound rose,
a sonorous sigh.

His new blonde trophy
tried to make herself visible.
He remained firm.
there could only be one
point of interest.

For a moment I thought
he had seen through my disguise.
For a moment I wanted
my camera to be a gun.




A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels, one full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks, her work has been widely published in mostly US poetry journals. Her latest full-length poetry manuscript, “The Rain Girl,” has been accepted for publication in June 2020 by Blue Nib. Her poem, “Old Love’s Sonnet,” has been nominated for a Pushcart by Shark Reef Journal where it was published in the Summer of 2019.

“Tarnished” by Gerard Sarnat

Ger’s glasses naturally rose-colored,
although trying hard to prevent
such on all of our cheeks

I ask the weekly Men’s Group
which has met at my house
for many many decades

to abide by these COVID-19 rules:
“Following up from last previous
discussion, I’d suggest to you

1. No one who’s ill or recently exposed
to someone suspiciously sick
(whatever that means)

should currently come to meetings.
2. We maximize elbow or Wuhan
toe taps, foot touching, etc. — but

at least I am passing for now on those
wonderful hugs sure do miss already.
If above is [quite understandably]

too tight-ass / hysterical, perhaps convene
elsewhere?  Simply cannot afford for
Lela or me to be sick. If acceptable

see ya Wednesday.” …Unanimous agreement
reached seems another golden step building
more responsible plus mature community

— until my partner / boss for a half-century
opines, “Getting together is unnecessary!”
thus putting her kibosh on well-laid plan.



Gerard Sarnat, MD’s won the Poetry in Arts First Place Award/Dorfman Prizes and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts/Best of Net Awards. He authored HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes, 17s, and Melting The Ice King (2016). Sarnat is widely published, including recently by academic-related journals at Stanford, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Pomona, Brown, Penn, Columbia, Sichuan, Canberra, University of Chicago as well as in Ulster, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, American Journal Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, LA Review, San Francisco Magazine, and the New York Times. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH for distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day. Sarnat’s poetry was chosen for a 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium.

“Two Broken Sticks” by William Doreski

When electric power fails, a sneer
drifts from the haunted forest
and nibbles our extremities.

The night wind rackets in shades
of dolor we otherwise dodge,
being creatures of sprightly mood.

Tonight I lie in a dreamless stupor
and dream anyway, rehearsing
my love of a tiny woman

represented by two broken sticks
dropped on a street in Cambridge
west of the MIT campus.

I don’t remember that woman
seeming so brittle, but the sticks
are undeniable. I drop a tear

in the gutter as the howling
of our deaf old cat wakes me
into dark too thick to stir with

those broken little sticks of pine.
No use explaining this dream
to you, busy feeding the pets.

No use bracing myself against
the windy dawn just brimming
with the last tatter of rain dispersed.

You wouldn’t believe how distant
the streets of Cambridge became
since I last crossed the rainbow

of Longfellow’s cut-stone bridge.
I should have left the two sticks crossed
at an intersection. Too late

to recover them. Just believe,
as I do, that electric power
will restore itself in time

to link us to the Anthropocene,
where dark fades into fresh colors
even the dirt-poor can wear.



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.

“Frozen Heart” by Jennifer Ruth Jackson

I watch you tremble.  The cracked, dry pieces
of your hands a winter mosaic—flakes
and webs of blood where fissures grow deep.
Will you lay your palm on my cheek of chiseled stone?
Sculpt my emotions one last time to mimic regret!
Icicles clink together like champagne flutes
in my hair—a toast to an extinguished flame.
Breathe steam against my lips and pretend you left
your soul within me.  Skate away on our black-glass
pond of a past, breaking through.



Jennifer Ruth Jackson is an award-winning poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Red Earth ReviewBanshee, and more.  She runs a blog for disabled and/or neurodivergent writers called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @jenruthjackson.

“Taking Stock” by Stephen Kingsnorth

I carried a Pisa pile
towards the door desk, grayish tinge.
The bright street frontage, poster glow
felt-tip scrawl announced, not Alexandria,
but fire damaged stock for sale.

High School me, taken self to town,
found this people-free paradise;
miser pocket-money in pig-skin purse
and upstairs warehouse, rickets stairs.

Cubic capacity, volume of books,
as if building razed, scarred library,
leaving untidy, uneven
brick foundation course which might
totter, crumble, bravely stand,
though interleaved mortar might fall about.

Column or torus, cheapest heaps,
towers, footstools, pilae stacks,
with floor before another plinth,
classic publishers fading pink,
a hypocaust for everyman,
Dutton, Dent and Routledge,
English bricks in global walls.

Picking through rough rubble site,
bombsite pages still bound, intact,
I sifted authors, faint pencil fly
just a dime/tanner, though ‘just’ is mine.

Juvenile choices from printer’s block tray,
lines with words, incunabula
of literature, devoured by hungry,
on every page of history,
appetite never satisfied.

Short boy, still teen, conservative in style,
probably in jacket, tie,
like tight-rope walker
stretched balance reaching towards cash register.
I waited while she totted total dollar/shillings spent.

Seeing selection for my shelves,
she posed was I a teaching man?
Now feel six feet tall
I chuckled, denied,
but volumes carried, swelled with pride,
a glow recalling embers laid
around these for basement prices paid.
If she could read those light lead-marks,
eye-sight good in that dingy site,
more confident my bus stop stride.

Though fifty on, two yards from here,
those tomes look grand; yet still unread.



Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English and Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church, has had pieces accepted by over a dozen on-line poetry sites, including Sparks of Calliope; and Gold Dust, The Seventh Quarry, The Dawntreader, Foxtrot Uniform Poetry Magazines, and Vita Brevis Anthology.  His website is Poetry Kingsnorth.

“Doppelgänger” by Diane Elayne Dees

(Robert Gordy, Untitled Face)

She appears to be Neanderthal, her face
is flat, her nose quite broad, her forehead high.
Her jaw is square, her mouth a gaping space;
a pupil seems to pop out of each eye.
It may just be the way her ancient skull
is structured, but she looks so terrified,
as if her very essence has been dulled,
and she can neither scream for help nor cry.

I see her every day, framed on my wall,
and my sadness for her cannot be contained.
I feel for her, her grief, but most of all—
I feel for my own loss, my constant pain.
I look at her and relive my own trauma;
she looks back at me, intimating karma.



Diane Elayne Dees’s chapbook, I Can’t Recall Exactly When I Died, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House; also forthcoming, from Kelsay Books, is her chapbook, Coronary Truth. Diane’s microchap, Beach Days, is available for download and folding from the Origami Poems Project site. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world. Her author blog is Diane Elayne Dees: Poet and Writer-at-Large.

“Mars” by Casey Killingsworth

There was this show on the massive amount of food
prepared everyday on a luxury ship, thousands
of pounds of shrimp and chicken and unspeakable
numbers of workers trapped on that boat,
racing against the clock to make every meal perfect.
I don’t even know if we have words to judge this.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I belong here, like I’m
different in the way a shrimp is different
from a chicken, the way they look at
the world with either feathers or from
underneath the ocean and in the end sharing
space on someone’s plate is all they have in common.

Sometimes I feel like I’m from another planet,
you know, like I’m lying there on someone else’s plate.
Then I walk down the street watching everyone watch
themselves in store windows believing the same thing,
how different they are. And I start thinking, well, maybe
we are all from Mars, or maybe we’re already on Mars,
and we’ve been here all along.

And if that’s true, then maybe we’re not so different after all.



Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of PoetryKimera, Spindrift, Rain, Slightly WestTimberline Review, COG, Common Ground Review, Typehouse,  Bangalore Review, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His book of poems, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995. He also has a book on the poetry of Langston Hughes, The Black and Blue Collar Blues (VDM, 2008). Casey has a Master’s degree from Reed College.