May 19, 2016

Poets of Issue Nine 

A. J. Huffman
Ace Boggess
Danny P. Barbare
Hem Raj Bastola
Holly Day
James G. Piatt
John Grey
Lee Evans
Michael Lee Johnson
Saloni Kaul
Tom Montag   

One poem by A. J. HUFFMAN


Pine-crowned boulders,
blocks of gray and gold,
streaked white by winter’s hand,
melt into silver
showers. Broken and spitting,
they allow room
for two-horned sweaters
with hooves.


A.J. HUFFMAN has published twelve full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses. Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers.  She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

One poem by ACE BOGGESS

'DO YOU SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY?'                                                                                               

I work hard, pull in a little scratch, &
my laptop dabbles in seppuku,
leaps from a tall building,
overdoses on a googolplex of giga-biturates.
Some sort of protest, I think—against what,
I can’t say, too numb from isolation panic
of data loss & a bank statement
that reads like binary code for a closed door.
It happens often: money lands like a firefly in my palm,
then glitters off to someone else’s fairy tale.
What good is it trying to save
when already it rains over long grass & rooftops,
stacks of picnic paper plates,
the muddy mausoleum
where bodies of old raindrops rest?
I can’t even research statistics of loss
with computer in pieces down the road.
All I can do is run my hands
through the penny jar looking for a dime,
or collect quarters fallen
to the floorboards of my car
while telling myself it’s raining again,
it’s always raining somewhere in the world.


ACE BOGGESS is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire, 2003).  His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

One poem by DANNY P. BARBARE







DANNY P. BARBARE resides in the Upstate of the Carolinas. His poetry has appeared locally, nationally, and abroad. He lives in the Southern US.



Up in the hill
I climb before the sun
To catch the golden rays
I wait, and wait staring
Unnoticed it came.
Riding over the mountain
Climbing toward the sky
From a faint light
Into a dazzling ball
The earth receive
The heat.

I wait, and wait—
The same place,
Nothing is growing here
Nothing is showing here
Except the view.

Surreal sight
Force me to vocate
My words to give
A new life
Is coming
The sun is rising
To incubate
The embryo
Of the seed. 


HEM RAJ BASTOLA is currently working as a freelance local tour guide in and around Pokhara Valley, Nepal. He has worked as a Guest Service Agent at the Hotel Pokhara Grande, as a cave guide, inside the cave area for all tourists as well as office assistance in Guptshor Mahadev Cave, as a substitute representative for Sita Travels, as a freelance trekking guide for tourists to the surrounding Annapurna range and as a book salesman in Annapurna Stationary Center.

Hem also enjoys writing poetry, listening to music and collecting stamps.

Two poems by HOLLY DAY


flower bulbs and bright-colored beads
dead civilizations mark the path
crumble under our feet.

battered skyscrapers that loom like mausoleums
forgotten long before the end of the world.

take to the road. tilted blue street signs
sunlight glints through the hollowed-out eyes

we load up our post-apocalyptic fortunes
for headless mannequins wearing scant threads of fashions
streets built wide enough for ox-carts.


I hear radio reports reporting, television shows broadcasting
school janitors with secret torture chambers
and I wonder how they can ask me

the trusted neighbor caught trafficking child pornography
children bringing weapons to school and I
papal heads arrested for raping boys, daycare providers hiding the dead

underground cannibal cults exposed by undercover agents exposing
drunk driving accidents involving dozens of dead
wonder when it’s safe to send him out the door, and to school


HOLLY DAY has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez ReviewSLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.

Two poems by JAMES G. PIATT


The lone frog outside my window
Croaks its somniferous song into
My dreaming ears; its guttural
Voice unfastens pleasant memories
In the locked caches in my mind.
How I love to hear that old frog’s
Jingle in the night as I coast
On soft clouds in my mind’s sky.


The breath of the renewing soul,
Send your tender healing presence
To cover my lonely heart’s gaping hole,
And dear garden’s soft and loamy bed,
Cover me with sweet aromas of roses
Pink, yellow, white, and red; and
Reaching to the sky above, so blue,
Are the beautiful Blue Bells, and Iris so true:
The geraniums maroon color is vivid, and bright,
The hue of the Berry Punch is glowing just right:

I see soft clouds climbing over the mountains afar,
The foothills below, yellow as the afternoon star,
Sweet melodies of song birds in the Sycamore trees,
The soft buzzing hum of the tenacious honeybees,
All give me a special calmness during this time, and
A newness begins in the pulse of a poet’s rhyme.


Dr. Piatt's poems have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of Web awards, and his poems were published in The 100 Best Poems of 2015 & 2014 Anthologies. He has published 2 poetry books “The Silent Pond” (2012), and “Ancient Rhythms,” (2014), and over 665 poems in over 90 different magazine, anthologies, and poetry books. His third poetry book is scheduled for release in January. His books are available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Two poems by JOHN GREY


The path is steep
like morning scrambling over
the rocky bones of night.
Haze hisses from the hemlocks.
Pines plait the dawning pallor.
Antelope brush
like the hands of drowning men
waves from the ridges.
With deft footwork,
a scarlet tanager
leaps from branch to branch.
a twisting, seeping drop of blood
on a still-life canvas.
On every leaf and needle,
dew photographs the shards of sun.
The chill wind that flecks my skin
is soon usurped by a dark
underbrush warm.
In a small clearing, a bold shaft of light
partners with my face,
the nascent altar blooms of wildflowers.
This world's complete without me
And yet I'm in the frame.


So what is it a song of?
The rain stopping?
More wild-flowers breathless to bloom?
An added lushness to the grass
that trims their pond?

The dusk's laced with
plucked strings of frog throats
No other sound is so insistent.
Bird songs dither with their sense.
Animal noises waver between food and fear.
Only the amphibious chorus
is unrelenting in its tone, its volume.

So what is it a song of?
Rain or flower or grass?
The pleasure that perceives these things?
The duty that knows nothing but to tell?


JOHN GREY is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review and the Coe Review.

Two poems by LEE EVANS


Two distended dragonflies
Bound to one another
Circumnavigate the sky.
She soars with abdomen bent
Like a beckoning finger;
He soars, hot for her scent—
Clutches at her throat and coils
His tail about her tail.
They writhe and they toil,
Wheeling, coupling in mid-air:
Veins of transparent wings
Pulsating with despair!

Who was that masked man?
Must have been the Lone Ranger,
Galloping through space
At the speed of light or Mind—
Maybe everyone or no one.
He reached critical mass
And the universe exploded:
A spectacular sight.
But there was a downside—
The night sky lost one more star.


LEE EVANS lives in Bath, Maine and has never fallen from a very great height.



Graying in
my life
growing old
like a stagnant
bucket of
rain water with moss
floating on top-
Oh, it’s not such
a bad deal,
except when
catches you
chilled in the
middle of a sentence
by yourself-
ticking away
like an old grandfather clock,
hands stretched straight in the air
striking midnight
like a final


MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era: now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 875 small press magazines in 27 countries. He edits 10 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: "From Exile to Freedom", several chapbooks of poetry, including "From Which Place the Morning Rises" and "Challenge of Night and Day", and "Chicago Poems". He also has over 74 poetry videos on YouTube.

One poem by SALONI KAUL


Our revolutionary dreams clamped on tight
By poised embossers hard at work
Lest they should slip into oblivion
Gain visibility and permanence
In salient relief on the decorative fore.

The stately curve carved by the westward steering sun
Clean clear as a chalcographer’s chart canvas scroll
Has with the fleet concurrence of the sky
Plotted each move, sketched each movement illustrious
In these ultimate ulteriors undivulged,
The stamping ground of the intelligentsia.                                                                       

Beguiling as a climb that culminates
Then in the comprehensive survey broad worldview,
Idyllic the seat on the belvedere
With all the approbations of the starry skies
And close collecting clouds for a crowd.


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 thirty seven 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 Poetry Quarterly, Eye On Life Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Horrorzine, Poetry And Paint Anthology, Misty Mountain Review, Inwood Indiana and Mad Swirl. Upcoming publication acceptances include Sentinel Quarterly and The Voices Project.                                             

Three poems by TOM MONTAG


Sky wishing for ocean
a long way from home.


The monk-poet lies down
into the stinging darkness.

He does not choose the silence.
The silence chooses him.

The monk-poet does not sleep
but falls to his emptiness.

This is enough for now
as the dark night burns

his light down to nubbin.
He does not choose to rise again.

His rising chooses him.


the oil not yet dried.
All the things we promise,

some of them are lies.
Birds somewhere; somewhere

blue sky. From here you hear
morning sound in the house.

Outside the light flatters
the streets, the trees, the grass.

A bit of ground fog hangs
in the damp air. When it

dissipates, something
substantial remains,

lovely, yet not quite
cured, not yet dried.


TOM MONTAG is most recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013. He is a contributing writer at Verse-Virtual. In 2015 he was the featured poet at Atticus Review (April) and Contemporary American Voices (August) and at year's end received Pushcart Prize nominations from Provo Canyon Reviewand Blue Heron Review. Other poems will be found in a variety of small journals.