Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1037 publications, his poems have appeared in 37 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 169 poetry videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. He is the editor-in-chief of the anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762 and editor-in-chief of a second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses which is available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089. Michael is also editor-in-chief of Warriors with Wings: the Best in Contemporary Poetry, a smaller anthology available now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1722130717
The photo above "Trackside Tree " was contributed by: Christopher Woods is the author of a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY (Panther Creek Press), and a collection of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK (Stone River Press). He has been taking photographs for about a year. He lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill, Texas, where this photo was taken.
Under[stated/standing] By A.J. Huffman
Telepathic songs burst. Radiation from broken skin. They mark: a softer way to die.
Inspiration By A.J. Huffman
is a box. A cell[-o-pain] lock on a chain to a busted key.
An Epiphanic Gasp of Clarity By A.J. Huffman
In a bath of blood, white is the only dirty whisper.
Bio: A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published three collections of poetry: The Difference Between Shadows and Stars, Carrying Yesterday, and Cognitive Distortion. She has also published her work in national and international literary journals such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Writer's Gazette, and The Penwood Review. Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000191382454 and https://twitter.com/.
In Love With Love
By Raud Kennedy
When she started talking about visions she’d had of us together in the future I knew I’d break up with her. We spent our time together making plans for tomorrow, not living today because that would entail being in separate places. two people eager to be in a relationship but without enough connection to carry the conversation through dinner.
Bio: Raud Kennedy is a dog trainer in Portland, Oregon. More of his work can be found at www.raudkennedy.com.
Editorial Comment: Raud is much more than a dog trainer. His basic writing remind me of some of my early works. They have a simplicity about them and a true sense of wonder.
By Jane Banning
“You want the ashes?” he asks, holding the cumbersome bag.
“You must be kidding,” I say tersely, sparking with hurt. I suppose I could keep them on the tile floor where his bones soaked up cool ease. Or beside my knee, where his heavy paw curled. I could set the sober container by my bed; he settled there with a groan, twitching his dear, rough feet, hot in the night, dreaming of running through clear puddles.
“No, I don’t want the ashes,” I say to the vet and the words, snatched by a winter wind hover, sleety, then sink to the ground.
Jane Banning lives in Oregon, Wisconsin. She received an honorable mention in the Micro Fiction Award contest in 2008 for "Cracked Open" which was published on Birds By My Window. Her work has appeared in the University of Iowa Daily Palette, Six Sentences, Tuesday Shorts, Long Story Short, and Boston Literary Magazine.
Editorial Comment: I love Jane’s way with words in poetry or prose fiction. Her issues touch to the heart, like pets which are so dear to me. Can you read this and not be touched? Jane, so sorry for taking so long to get this lovely piece online.
The moon spills milky light over the wheat fields outside the farmer's bedroom window, He is a father worried for his chattering yellow children standing at wavy attention in the warm night. His calloused, sun-blessed hand reaches out to lovingly stroke the restless fields to sleep.
LuckyBy Terry Miller
in my garden atop thin green bushes a chorus of roses sing bass reds tenor pinks soprano yellows filling my yard with floral music though
I may always be poor I will at least be rose rich
Bio: Terry Miller is a published and award winning poet from Fort Bend County, Texas. His work has been published in anthologies of the Gulf Coast Poets, Sol Magazine and other Texas publications. In January 2010, his poem "The Diagnosis" will appear in the "Birmingham Arts Journal." His first book of poetry, "The Day I Killed Superman" will be released in December 2009. He is a member of the Gulf Coast Poets Society, the founder of the Fort Bend Poets Group and the Fort Bend County Poet Laureate Competition. Terry is a professor of eMarketing and holds an Innovation Fellowship at Kaplan University.
Editor Comments: Terry is a very talented poet. Note the rich imagery, with a small story behind each poem and a twist at the end that leaves you in a land of wonderment. In many ways Terry and I write in a similar veins with an element of surprise and a telling story. Michael Lee Johnson
The Hot Summer By Joanna M. Weston
hard phrases empty the river then heat and wind come over the prairie to where my words lie quiet in a coulee to be caught by the breeze into dust-devils so anger and farewell mix with thistles the horizon lies blank and summer takes love
The Portrait By Joanna M. Weston
she does not look at the source of sorrow but away and down words lock behind her parted lips I reach out to touch the painted face she remains uncomforted
Bio: Joanna M. Weston, has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published in anthologies and journals for twenty years. Has two middle-readers published, ‘The Willow-Tree Girl’, ‘Those Blue Shoes', and poetry, ‘A Summer Father’, published by Frontenac House of Calgary.
Editorial Comment: As usual, Joanna’s poems are chucked full of rich images about rich places, people, and events.
Chimes tap against our windowpane. This evening becomes starry sapphire as sea gulls rise in flight over rooftops. Winds wrapping around trees tossing leaves. The court yard is full of aromas from dinnertime. Shadows growing longer each minute. Lights go on and I wait for you.
only last Thursday after
another morning of clichés
as freezing winds pushed
us along grey avenues…
you shouted my name
in the middle of Main Street
calling me poet and instantly
mountains of mediocrity
were melted by your smile.
Bio: Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Boston Review of the Arts, Kalliope, Mudfish, Spectrum and Word Thursdays. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses. She has performed at the National Arts Club, State University of New York, Oneonta, McNay Art Institute and other distinguished venues. A recent reading was sponsored by the American Academy of Poetry. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky, A.P.D. Press, Albany, New York. Email: email@example.com
Editorial Comment: I simply love Joan McNerney’s poetry...in many ways it resembles mine, about nature, relationship, small stories of small events so important. I could be selfish and accept anything she has written, but I must restrain myself.
David M. Harris
lilac buds open
cow shit on vegetable beds
water and sunlight marry-
culminate on plates
Bio: David M. Harris has an MFA in fiction, so now he writes poetry. Some of it has been published in Slow Trains, Sigurd Journal,
Naugatuck River Review, and My Poem Rocks, among other places. He lives near Nashville.
Editorial Comment: If this is not to the point what is? This is actually a creative edit of two Haiku poems into a free verse poem and it works just wonderfully.
To Be Filed
By Rick Spuler
The drawer where I end up
when I come to you like this
has two ways to go:
one for each hand reaching
in, and reaching out.
Bio: Rick Spuler’s poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines. He is currently working an a collection of short stories and poetry (Memorabilia and Other Assorted Forgettables). For nearly 20 years he has served as Senior Lecturer in German at Rice University in Houston, TX. He enjoys music and reading.
Editorial Comment: Rick is a diversified writer in many genres. I like the simplicity of this physical act portrayed; and the hidden emotional and psychological implications within relationships.
By Kathleen Kenny
Sewing with a shovel,
in the silver light.
Listed on my heart sleeve
secret spices, herbs,
clouds of dusty cinnamon.
The goddess is strengthening
my weak arm, is putting steel
into my green garden mac.
Dressing Up as a Sioux Princess
By Kathleen Kenny
The powder and pout of painted lips,
I want my child to be more than this,
more than myself:
without dark bones that bend when asked.
Turn Your Room Blue
By Kathleen Kenny
Lie your white limbs here
under the moon
under the moon
in the blue darkness.
Bio: Kathleen Kenny lives and writes in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. She works as a part-time creative writing tutor at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Her latest collection of poems: Firesprung was published recently by Red Squirrel Press.
Editorial Comment: I have read these poems over a few times and even though I'm not sure where they lead me-I like going there. I feel something different, images I related to and I’m not exactly sure why. I'm a fan of stories (even short ones that reflect longer ones where the details are hidden) full of images and these do it for me.
By Steve Klepetar
Red dogs in the neighborhood, here’s
how they hunt: teeth on
doorknobs, tails mast stiff in a west
wind’s blast, every paw
a bloody flower on the etched concrete.
Last night great drifts of rain, huge beds
heaving in dreaming swells. We rise
and we fall, tossing awake dizzy
as diving gulls in brittle light. Gray
morning haze, brown worms underfoot,
tangle of grass and mud. Man in a wheelchair
kisses a child, motors through puddles
as she skips away holding her sister’s hand.
Bio: Steve Klepetar teacher literature and writing at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. His work has appeared in many journals, such as GHOTI, Snakeskin, Ygdrasil, New Works Review, Lily and others. He has received nominations for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web.
Editorial Comments: Steve tells a tale with a few lines cramped with imagery leading the way right to a subtle ending.
AN OLD HOUSE
By Joanna M. Weston
I want an old house
with ghosts imprisoned
where secret mice
whisper under the window
fingers brush corners
in an attempt to pick
while silk trails
over wooden floors
here I can hear whispered replies
from hushed chandeliers
pick forgotten notes
and live someone else’s life
when mine tangles too much
with neon and tarmac.
Joanna M. Weston, M.A. Has had poetry, reviews, and short stories published in anthologies and journals for twenty years. Has two middle-readers, ‘The Willow Tree Girl’ and ‘Those Blue Shoes’; also ‘A Summer Father’, poetry, published by Frontenac House of Calgary, all in print. Joanna lives on Vancouver Island, “where the lilacs are out and the weeds are ten feed tall!”
Editorial Comments: I love this poem, it has the right combination of constant interchanging imagery, blended with a real or imagined story.
By Kenneth Pobo
Look, you dumb fag,
it’s obvious. I get on top
of my wife, put it
in her, she squirms
around under me,
I cum, maybe
she does, and we
have a real
like you, I mean,
just try it
my way, God’s way,
and speaking of
God, He’s right
there in bed
with my wife
and me, watching.
Bio: Kenneth Pobo has a new book of poems forthcoming this year from WordTech Press called Glass Garden. His work can be read online at: 2River View, Forpoetry.com, Pemmican, Adirondack Review, and elsewhere. He teaches Creative Writing and English at Widener University. Catch his radio show, “Obscure Oldies,” on Saturdays from
6-8pm EST at WDNR.com.
Editiorial Comments: I plead the 5th ammendment.
by Judy Johns
At a garage sale,
I bought framed pictures of people long dead,
people I don‘t know, three for ten dollars.
I claim them as ancestors,
giving them pride of place on my living room wall
as my neighbor does.
They look like pioneer people:
sturdy and solid with their dark clothes and solemn features.
One picture has three children.
It’s difficult to discern gender since they all have dresses on.
The middle one was my grandfather or grandmother.
It’s hard to tell
when they don’t really belong to you.
My real ancestors came more recently by boat,
fleeing the potato famine,
pretending to be English because the quota was filled.
Thieves and gamblers, boxers and boozers,
not a sturdy or solid one among them.
There are no old photos of them
to hang on my living room wall.
Bald Women in the Waiting Room
By Judy Johns
Across from me,
in the pale yellow room,
two women sit together
their scalps shiny and smooth
as honey dew melons.
Out of context,
they resemble alien council members
from a Star Trek segment.
One is around twenty
her unlined complexion
delicately tinted at the cheekbones.
The other seems older, but age
is hard to tell on women with no hair.
In addition to their bald heads,
they share a common look,
sort of a patient resignation .
I want to ask them how they subdued
the beast methodically pawing
its way from one cell to another--
the one I barely contain
beneath my full head of hair.
Judy Johns: Bio and Editorial Comments
Bio: Judy Johns, of Pleasant View, Utah, is an English instructor at Utah
State University and was named Utah Poet of the year in 2003 for her
collection of poems titled If I Could Speak in Silk, published by the
Utah State Poetry Society and Author House and available online at Amazon.com.
Editor Comments: This is the best example of story poetry I have found so far.
Straight forward real life tales, with real people in mind, with a twist of imagery To moisten the taste of the read one line at a time. Another poem by Judy Johns can be viewed at: http://atendertouch.blogspot.com/
Judy Johns: Bio and Editorial Comments
Bio: Judy Johns, of Pleasant View, Utah, is an English instructor at Utah State University and was named Utah Poet of the year in 2003 for her collection of poems titled If I Could Speak in Silk, published by the Utah State Poetry Society and Author House and available online at Amazon.com.
Editor Comments: This is the best example of story poetry I have found so far. Straight forward real life tales, with real people in mind, with a twist of imagery To moisten the taste of the read one line at a time. Another poem by Judy Johns can be viewed at: http://atendertouch.blogspot.com/