November 16, 2017

Poets of Issue Twelve
Sketch ©

Anamika Mishra 
Ben Groner
Chris Wardle 
Christopher Barnes
Don Thompson
Gary Beck
James Croal Jackson 
John Grey 
Juliet Wilson
Karen Neuberg 
Lee Evans
Michael Lee Johnson 
Michaeleen Kelly
Saloni Kaul
Todd Mercer 

One poem by Anamika Mishra

Standing by the Edge of the River

The inebriated flow
Of the river
And its cooling-
Calming edge
And the passé
Bridge nearby
Filled with
Engineering great— arts of beauty
Mending of masons,
Laborers' duty,
Trails of trains … stretching
Into the looming hazy dusk …
All of which
Have been the greatest inspiration
And motivation
For me.
Awful amenities 
Of wisdom
And ken!
While all of these
Remind me
Of an evening, of the end
Of my days,
And I think of an eternal slumber,
The river calls me
To get into it!
It says, "Only for a while, you'll drown.
Then nobody can stop you from floating."
"Come into the centre," says the bridge,
"And connect
Sensations with soul;
I'll teach you how! And connect you
With the things
You've never been connected with."
"I'll never betray you," say the trails
Of trains gone to the sublime—
Lost in amazing
Love of art,
"Your own peace
Will bring peace, giving birth to
Love of peace!" 

ANAMIKA MISHRA, a multi-lingual aspiring poet and writer, comes from Birjung, Nepal. A graduate in English literature from Pokhara University, she has recently started writing and contributing to several online magazines and national dailies, working alongside as a teacher. She blogs at

Two poems by Ben Groner III

Norfolk, Virginia

In the Ronald McDonald House kitchen
the little girl called my name,

so I knelt down again

and stared into sparkling sapphire eyes
as she laughed and jumped and danced
on the linoleum floor

like a spinning top

while dusk’s thick rays poured
through whitewashed blinds

like honey

and I prayed she could grow up
without the world laying a hand
against her, touching her only

to lift her up.

A Strange Thought

From this valley, some gaze up at the mountain’s ridge
and say death is a starless sky blacker than pitch,
for we can’t see beyond this most silent of seas;
does the end come to everyone else or only to me?

But haven’t you ever woken in wonder from a dream,
in the hushed hours of dawn? in the folds of morning?
and aren’t we aware that a newborn child
emerges from darkness and into the light?

BEN GRONER III (Nashville, TN), recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in Appalachian Heritage, Third Wednesday, New Mexico Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Texas Poetry Calendar, and elsewhere. You can see more of his work at

Two poems by Chris Wardle


Perhaps no more than four or five,
this Nepali child frowns nervously
up at the ping*'s rope and Bamboo frame,
unsure if the watchful smile
on his Father's face,
is one of joy, or madness!

But freedom slowly dawns
on his opening mind and
tentatively loosening his body,
he leans back, swinging
into a wide, grinning arc,
full of Dashain* delight.

Accepting this flight
of temporary freedom,
he looks admiringly anew
at his Father's face,
and shares the confident smile
he just inherited.

Ping — Nepali word for swing 
Dashain — one of the great festivals of Hindus


Standing in the carriage foyer,
two artists.

A cellist,
eyes closed in practice
on her instrument case.

And a poet, lost
in the music
of her silent rapture.

Finding his voice late in life, Chris Wardle has his heart firmly attached to South Asia and is currently halfway through a year-long volunteer placement in Kathmandu. This grateful British-Australian nomad or 'malang' (Urdu term), development worker and student of Permaculture is constantly surprised and delighted by the people, places and things inspiring his poetic outpourings.

One poem by Christopher Barnes

Why Bother Ltd.

                         (Martini glass on secretaire.)
Half-hearted at poodlefaking?
Here’s a progression of 10 canoodling letters
In a winsomely-devised box –
Faultless when you can’t be pestered
To wrestle your own nonchalance.

CHRISTOPHER BARNES’ first collection LOVEBITES is published by Chanticleer. Each year he reads at Poetry Scotland’s Callender Poetry Weekend. He also writes art criticism which has been published in Peel and Combustus magazines.

One poem by Don Thompson


Sometimes in this world, slightly
to one side of our five senses,
a stone becomes translucent.

It seems to be a Japanese lantern
made of unimaginable litho-paper.
Foolish to think so,

and yet, there it is in the dusk,
aglow, holding the last light
as long as possible.

DON THOMPSON was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life.  He has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a dozen books and chapbooks.  For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink (

November 15, 2017

One poem by Gary Beck

Out of Control

Everything in nature
eats, or is eaten.
Natural selection
regulates existence,
until human interference
alters the balance of life,
condemning many species
to untimely extinction
by destruction of habitat,
poisonous environment
eliminating the blue bird,
extending the time of the rodent,
while those who see the danger
lack sufficient resources
to prevent untimely demise.

GARY BECK spent most of his life as a theater director. He has 12 published chapbooks, 14 published poetry collections, 7 accepted for publication. He has 4 novels and 3 accepted for publication. 1 short story collection and 1 accepted for publication. He lives in NYC.

One poem by James Croal Jackson


in drinking
I add more

of myself
to myself

in living
I add more

time as
it subtracts

JAMES CROAL JACKSON is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in FLAPPERHOUSE, Yes Poetry, Serving House Journal, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at 

One poem by John Grey

Ice Breaks in Mountain Stream

River grunts and groans, as blocks of ice crack,
break apart, crush together, shatter like old timbers.
Spurred on by deep current, water struggles to be free
of long dark winter nights, bitter cross breezes,
the hungry chatter of non-migratory birds.
Movement is hatched in tiny chips that lap against
brown grass vole holes, to the splintering edges
of the more defiant blocks anchoring mid-stream.
Geese alight on banks, honk a melting chorus.
A hiker stands atop a rocky overhang,
a back-packed guide post for the warming sun.
More watery ballast, the river speeds downstream.
What is not fuel is detritus in its way.

JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly. 

One poem by Juliet Wilson

Raspberry Picking 

Sweetness glows red in thorny undergrowth.
Arms scratched and nettled,
we fill bags with fruit,
juice on our hands like blood.

I snack on berries and chocolate
and dream of the jars of jam that will shine
warmly red on our shelves

seeing us through the winter.

JULIET WILSON is an adult education tutor and conservation volunteer based in Edinburgh, UK. She blogs at and tweets @ craftygreenpoet 

One poem by Karen Neuberg

Once a peregrine, here in Brooklyn,

landed close to my feet, swooping
under a parked car, I presume for a rat. I never
saw the reason, but heard the shuffle as it slid
beneath, my eyes caught its tail and then saw it
back out. We looked each other in the eye.
For a moment, I was feral.

KAREN NEUBERG lives near the water in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Canary, Forage, Hermeneutic Chaos, Otoliths, Really System, and S/tick. Her latest chapbook, The elephants are asking, is forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press in December 2017. Links to her work can be found at

One poem by Lee Evans

Free Fall

The detachment of the moon
Is like a fingernail clipping
Frozen among the constellations.

Crunching down the snow,
My footsteps leave irrevocable prints
To and from the bare forsythia.

I unsnap the mousetrap,
Let the smashed body drop
On a pale crust of moonlight. 

LEE EVANS lives in Bath, Maine and works for the local YMCA. His poems have appeared in various venues over the past twenty or so years.

One poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Alexandra David-Neel

She edits her life from a room made dark
against a desert dropping summer sun.
A daring travelling Parisian adventurer
ultimate princess turning toad with age-
snow drops of white in her hair, tiny fingers
thumb joints osteoarthritis
corrects proofs at 100, pours whiskey,
pours over what she wrote
scribbles notes directed to the future,
applies for a new passport.
With this mount of macular degeneration,
near, monster of writers' approach.
She wears no spectacles.
Her mind teeters between Himalayas,
distant Gobi Desert, but subjectively warm.
Running reason through her head for living,
yet dancing with the youthful word of Cinderella,
she plunges deeper near death into Tibetan mysticism,
trekking across snow covered mountains to Lhasa, Tibet.
Nighttime rest, sleepy face, peeking out that window crack
into the nest, those quiet villages below
tasting that reality beyond all her years'
vastness of dreams.

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  Mr. Johnson published in more than 989 publications, his poems have appeared in 34 countries, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/and 2 Best of the Net 2017. He also has 138 poetry videos on YouTube. He is the Editor-in-chief of the anthology 'Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze' and 'Dandelion in a Vase of Roses'. 

One poem by Michaeleen Kelly

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Whistleblower

The misdeeds and generally bad ideas of her coworkers
permeated Ann’s consciousness at every workplace.
She channeled Aristotle in his call for an ethical life,
never holding back calling them to task
for their regular failures at reasonableness.

Agreeing with him that genuine friendships
being possible only with her moral equals
necessarily eliminated all the conformists.

Her predictable retreat to her Michigan garden,
was a natural test site for Aristotle’s balanced life.
There her generosity of spirit
proved uncompromised, unbalanced, un-Aristotelian.
There she willed the extreme, heedless giving of time
to the most flawless, unforgiving mistress - Mother Nature herself.

MICHAELEEN KELLY is an emerita professor of Philosophy at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her poetry has been published in Blue Collar Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, Main Street Rag Anthologies, Dunes Review and Greywolf Press. She is a two-time winner of the Kent County Dyer-Ives prize for poetry.

One poem by Saloni Kaul

Price of Beauty

Atop the hill old trees gaunt in a clump
All stand on guard eternal like a sage, 
On the alert like batsman suave protects his stump 
Staying on is life though runs get him to the front page.
Strewn generously along the pathways wild
Are all the tempting delectations that us all intrigue,
Whilst thought and wisdom of the highest league
Lures like dramatically layered mosaic well-tiled.
How like the wild imagination does
This tall top line to realms beyond extend !
Entirely flat disregarded by the general buzz ,
Could all this something strenuously strange portend ?
Immersed in meditation, sagelike old trees stay on duty
And the wayward beholder pays the price of beauty.   

SALONI KAUL, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed forty years of being published. Saloni Kaul's first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All. Most recent Saloni Kaul poetic production has been published in Tipton Poetry Journal, Misty Mountain Review, Inwood Indiana, Mad Swirl , FIVE Poetry, The Voices Project, The Penwood Review, Mantid Magazine, Haikuniverse, Blue Pepper, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Cabildo Quarterly, AJI Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, River Poets Journal, Belle Rêve Literary Journal ,Taj Mahal Review, Verbal Art, Poetry Pacific, Ink Sweat And Tears and Military Experience And The Arts (As You Were : The Military Review) . Upcoming publication acceptances include Blueline, The Penwood Review, Cabildo Quarterly , Scarlet Leaf Review and Indiana Voice Journal .