Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New Poetry (and introductory note) by Holly Day

After a full summer of not being able to sit comfortably at my desk and work, there’s nothing so wonderful as having the kids back in school and the house and time to myself. Perhaps in cooperation with my determined vision of staying glued to my computer for the day, the weather has turned nasty overnight, and I’m already wearing a sweater around the house and wondering how long I can put off turning on the heater for the season. Outside, sparrows and chickadees cover the lawn as thick as snow, a shifting, twitching carpet of brown and gray reminder that my beautiful summer is coming to a close.

The Anniversary

Years later, they will speak of this anniversary
as though it had happened to other people, neighbors, perhaps.
They will speak lightly of her hospitalization

gloss over the details, mention her minor head trauma
the problems he had had with his temper
back then, in the past.

Their children will glare pointedly at each other
over the heads of the assembled party guests
because one of them should have intervened

someone was supposed to have been here.

- Holly Day 2015

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Music Theory for Dummies (3rd edition), Piano All-in-One for Dummies, The Book Of, and Nordeast Minneapolis: A History.  

New Words and Images by Wayne H. W Wolfson

I had to let her go on up the stairs ahead of me because of how she took them. Always, a jaunty dance of rapidly, three steps up then two back down.
The polished wooden floors amplified the sunlight, a golden glow of peace that I would always mistrust. I worried too that the angel was not real as I did not see how the vast expanse of wings could fit through the little slits in the back of the robe.
Her concern was enough to make the stairs gently creak. I do not speak. What was the point with only a few minutes to burn in heaven before falling back through.

Op 9, No 2
The sky is gray but in this drabness it makes the light from our place shine like a distant star or the blush of your cheeks during warmer months.
Inside the air is slightly smoky from wild boar sausage. It is not acrid but a heaviness which is a comfort.
The cool mineral notes of our drinks. Waiting for our meal, I start to tattoo the back of the card which announces the house drink specials. My pen bleeds from the neck and my hands echo in kind.

- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New Poetry by Peter C. Venable


and bath-salted,

he aimed a corkscrew into his palm
and twisted and twisted

until it screwed through
the dorsal skin nearly an inch—

like a badly botched titanium screw surgery—

and he reached for a bottle of wine

and I waited for the next twist.

- Peter C. Venable 2015

The Rational

“The Rational is Real and the Real is Rational,”

A buttress of Hegel's Mind

and my mallet-and-chiseled Absolutes.
How my Easter Island idols are adorned
with gull droppings and scales!

Come, tourists, and meander
in our taxidermist's museum of stuffed Beliefs—
are they winking at us with their glassy eyes?

Come, and ponder
as we go spelunking in Plato's Cave,
and meet our flickering shadows.

Let’s ascend our ancestral stairs
to Reason's Tower and marvel
at Syllogism's sculptures.

What, then, are these Monuments
which assemble our Real minds?

- Peter C. Venable 2015

The writer has written both free and metric verse for over fifty years and been published in such humorous poetry journals as Parody, Word Riot, Laughing Dog, and Hobo Pancakes. He is a semi-retired clinician, volunteers at a prison camp and food pantry, leads vespers services for senior citizens, and is graced with a happy marriage, daughter and son-in-law, and Yeshua. Hagar the Horrible is a role model

Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Poetry by James Diaz

The underside of river run

From now on
this word and light
will be
all that you have

a tiny stone
carried since September
on the inside of your sleeve

a stack of unpaid bills
next to an unread book
on Anarchy

the yellow moth
and the strange pond 
past Oswego

a house built
on shadow
and childhood echolalia 

life deferred 

but more true
than anything else you can remember.

- James Diaz 2015

James Diaz lives in Upstate New York. His poems and stories have appeared in Cheap Pop Lit, Pismire, Ditch, Collective Exile and My Favorite Bullet.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Poetry by Michele Seminara

Mourning Morning 

My mother's house surrounds 
me in a shroud: the tinkling 
of the teaspoon as my father stirs 
his tea, his tea; the chug of the washing machine 
that never dies. The tubular wind chimes casting
their cool auric spell around us; the complaint 
of the floorboards bearing up our lives.
And the busyness, of the birds in bush nearby... I

lie with eyes shucked open, not turning
to what waits to be let in. 
I hear the phone shriek—and again— 
then footsteps up the hall; the sound
of hesitation at the door—
as I elongate this moment,
try to dwell inside before. 

- Michele Seminara 2015

Michele Seminara is a Sydney poet and Managing Editor of Verity La.

Monday, August 03, 2015

New Poetry by Rodney Nelson

Harder Times

a gray-and-white photograph
of woods that were gray and white
in an olden November
dark gray of tree shadow and
two men in dark not smiling
not having to squint too hard

one with a rifle in hand
a wried dead buck on the ground
the other with a mustache
a gray-and-white November
in the quiet of drought time

dark-gray November of want

- Rodney Nelson 2015

Rodney Nelson worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in the northern Great Plains. He recently published a chapbook.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

New Flash Fiction by Kyle Hemmings

Fickle Brain 

My girlfriend, Molly, mock/taunts me, tangos with petunias between her teeth, misreads her cues, mistakes an "I" for an "ogre,' a "mugwump" for a "mistletoe," a "harem" for a "solstice." She loves me with that tragic pout, a flaw in her fuzzy navel. 

Behind the house that we rent by a brook of sleeping fish, she attends a garden of schizoid flowers that lean loveless[ly] away. 

On hard linoleum, she trips over her own dents. High heels, she claims, as she kicks them off from bed, are nothing but a symptoms of social disease. You're always left alone facing your bare feet with nothing to say. So awkward. So much space. My poor disconnected feet. 

Whenever we attempt sex, Molly gets distracted by the noise of stars, a cat fight near the tomato beds. 

"It's a shame we can't be together in the full pocus. My nervous tics always get in the way. Maybe you'd be better off dropping out and getting a mail route. At least, it'd keep you on time." 

I smile, lean over, and kiss Molly on the moon's reflection off her right cheek, a good centimeter or so above a dimple, which she did not plant. 

Summer fades, Fall soft-shoes in. I drop out of Advanced Economics, leave Blitzkrieg strategies to world leaders with artificial thumbs and off-centered noses. Molly moves out, switches colleges, decides she will be as abstruse as Virginia Woolf thinking underwater thoughts. 

"There will always be another season, we can make another chance at it," I write her. "Who knows? Maybe someday leaves will fall in straight lines and licorice twists will be given to women after a false pregnancy of hope." 

I get no response. I get the puff in the center of a breeze. 

I'm still waiting for a letter. Saying she met someone and got married. Saying she lost someone but it was beautiful in Paris. Saying she has given up on everyone and only lives to sit at the window studying the cohesiveness of rain. How it falls in odd pairings. 

I write her: The thing I hated most about you was the thing I loved most about you--your fickle brain. 

The letter comes back--return to sender. 

The years pass. The flowers commit suicide every other season. I make small repairs on the house that seems to slant more each month. I let the dog out. Chase the fleas off him. When the heat fails, we sleep on a small island of a carpet, one whose measurements Molly had miscalculated. When she was more alive than missing, that is. 

In the morning, I open the door. I steal a fistful of random air from a slight breeze and pocket it. I will donate my pants to anyone who can fit into them, anyone who is light enough to slip out. 

- Kyle Hemmings 2015

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne's School for Wayward Boys at He blogs at

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Poetry by Peter Mitchell

The Nightly Trip

Here's the nightly trip again as you drive along
the serpentine Bangalow to Lismore Road.

Another session of flak from bitumen: python bends
reproaching carelessness, the antithesis of a freeway.

Headlights startle around a right-hand curve, another pair
follow, appear fade, appear fade, appear fade..

Is this where it happened?  Two lights like snakes'
eyes appear in the darkness behind and rise as if ready

to strike.  Just as quickly, they turn off and disappear.
Suddenly blue lights slash the fold of night, scream past.

Was that the sound she heard while lying on broken glass?
The wind soughs the reptile scrub as the road slithers over hill,

through valley.  No matter how often you drive this road, you never
get used to it.  Highbeams knife around a right-hander, pixelate

eyes, push strain.  The steering wheel falters as the tyres cross
the double lines.  Was that how it happened?  Eyes now alert,

the heart yearns for the meditation of straight blue metal.
Lismores' lights wink as the car wheels the final curve.

Blinkers tick-tock the last intersection, tyres hiss to a halt.
Ahead the lighted hospital calms the injured night.

- Peter Mitchell 2015

Peter Mitchell is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press, 2009).  He lives in Bundajung Country (NSW), writing poetry, short fiction, memoir and literary criticism.  His poetry has been published in international (India, Singapore) and national print and online journals, magazines and  anthologies.  In 2014, he was awarded the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry (Varuna Writers' Centre) and, at present, is writing a memoir, Fragments of the Lurgi: A Memoir (Artist with Disability program, Australia Council) using long narrative, poems, journal entries, letters and quotes.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Poetry by Donal Mahoney

When My Wife Is in Her Garden

When my wife is in her garden, 
she becomes a ballerina
moving with the morning breeze 
through hollyhocks and roses, 
peonies and phlox.
There is music only she can hear.
It's been that way for 30 years.
I never interrupt her dance

not even when the house caught fire
early in the morning. I didn't holler out
the way another husband might 
if he had never had a gardener for a wife.
Instead I called the firemen,
and while they were on their way, 
I poured water from the sink
on the growing conflagration.

My efforts proved to be in vain.
The firemen arrived too late and so
the house is now a shell of smoke.
The garden still looks beautiful
yet I have no idea what I'll say  
when my wife comes back inside.
But if she's toting roses to arrange 
she may not notice any change.

- Donal Mahoney 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

New Poetry by Claire Roberts


Every library is a pile of seasonal leaves;
amber-coloured pages crack
like twigs underfoot

and scent the air around my cubicle
with the arms of a young maple tree:
a crimson sentry leaning on the windowsill,

my favourite book clear as a name.
I have one life and poetry another.

- Claire Roberts 2015

Claire Miranda Roberts is an emerging poet and translator born in Melbourne, Australia. Claire is the sister of playwright Glyn Roberts and has studied under Jill Jones at the University of Adelaide. Her poems have been published in Southerly, Cordite, Regime and Arena among others. She has written a collection of poems titled The Fragile Season and she tweets as @2ndNaturePoet

Friday, July 24, 2015


As a hub of the poetry community, Bluepepper will occasionally serve to promote the creative endeavours of one of the members of that community, whether through short reviews or public announcements. On this occasion we are happy to promote the first single of Brisbane band, L.U.V., a collaboration between the two eldest daughters of poet Margie Cronin. Follow the link below to hear their song at Tripe J's unearthed.

New Poetry by James Walton

Hellespont Queens Parade Clifton Hill

I swam the pavement straits
to be cradled in the sacristal lay
of your curling virginity
furtive strokes between pontoons
of concertinaed cars in early hours
glass beads that paced anxious steps
of drizzled rainbows on cresting roads 
each night in beacon times guided
embraced by window frames
strong enough then to lift myself
through return journeys
until the verdigris signal failed
stalled to breathe slipping on tram lines
hands in the air unable to inhale
the sounds of your forgiveness

- James Walton 2015

James Walton lives in South Gippsland. His collection, "The Leviathan's Apprentice" has just been released through Strzelecki's Lover Press.

New Poetry by Michael Lee Johnson


Single life is-tequila with lime,
shots of travelers, jacks, diamonds, and then spades,
holding back aces-
mocking jokers
paraplegic aged tumblers of the night trip.
Poltergeist define as another frame,
a dancer in the corner shadows.
Single lady don’t eat the worm…
beneath the belt, bashful, very loud, yet unspoken.
Your man lacks verb, a traitor to your skin.

- Michael Lee Johnson 2015

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 9 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 73 poetry videos on YouTube.