Issue 34 – Haiga

the red light
my round bindi
strikes his eyes

Amrutha Prabhu, India


two parentheses
I walk inside
to rest


Senryu source: Celebrating Childhood by Adonis, translated by Khaled Mattawa

Christine L. Villa, USA


peer pressure one of the herd mentality

Debbie Strange, Canada


hallowed ground
hand in hand
with echoes

lightning strike
the fizz and crackle
of our first kiss

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom


taking shape inside me, you

Julie Schwerin, USA


hotel illusion
light and shadow play
across a facade

Kate MacQueen, USA


rocky road
a month of submissions
and rejections

Mark Gilbert, United Kingdom


antidepressant
the doctor ups my dose
of vitamin G

Mark Meyer, USA


yin yang
she knows how to handle
my moods

Milan Rajkumar, India

old friends chat
miles of boardwalk
to reach the point
poppy––
holding his memory
as he held us

Olivia Ark, Australia


Covid-19
when a cold was just a cold

Pris Campbell, USA


walking to think I happened

where time tempers you a showering of dust

Shloka Shankar, India

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Issue 33 – Senryu & Kyoka

small town
searching the classifieds
for livestock

Aaron Barry, Canada

easter
the empty
church

Adam T. Arn, USA

hot sake . . .
I barely remember
her name

Agus Maulana Sunjaya, Indonesia

salt and pepper
to taste
rebound boyfriend

Aidan Castle, USA

snowbound in light the other side of an election

Alan Summers, United Kingdom

wilted palm branch
the child practices
sweeping the path

private parts
she shows me
her sketchbook

Alex Fyffe, USA

end of 2020
gathering around the warmth
of the webcam

Antonietta Losito, Italy

change coming . . .
the reassuring mantra
fails to reassure

last third
of the poetry journal
. . . pouring scotch

B.A. France, USA

that turned-down smile
men now give me––
middle age

Barbara Sabol, USA

hanging the wall calendar
less birthdays
this year

Barrie Levine, USA

walking home
from the pub
the moon
goes the wrong
way

spider on my wall
every day the death count
higher

lockdown the key to get out of missing you

Bee Jay, Australia

to love
honour and obey . . .

bursting bubbles

Benedict Grant, Canada

souvenir shop
picking up the local’s
swear words

Billy Antonio, Philippines

con
tact
less

Bisshie, Switzerland

revising my will
someone else gets a lot
of nothing

Bob Lucky, Portugal

childhood
Mom and I remember it
differently

Brad Bennett, USA

mock apple pie
finally accepting
the real me

Bryan Rickert, USA

my haiku
about Gödel’s Theorem
incompl

Charles Harmon, USA

at the briefing
the photogenic PM talks
of racism
this nightlong buzz
from a streetlamp

Chen-ou Liu, Canada

new farmers’ market
trendy microgreens
from the refugee garden

Christine Wenk-Harrison, USA

awake all night
consulting a galaxy
far, far away

trying
a new identity
on for size––
a stretch
but not a good fit

Cynthia Anderson, USA

photo op . . .
the candidate crops
his record

spring colours . . .
I brush in
Just for Men

Dave Read, Canada

evening road
the exhaust
of cheap cologne

David Käwika Eyre, USA

inner critic
editing my poem
to a blank page

Debbi Antebi, United Kingdom

those same signs
the white dress
of a suffragette

Deborah P Kolodji, USA

death bed the joke i’ve saved for this day

Elancharan Gunasekaran, Singapore

in between stars
the question of fidelity

custody battle
the old scar looks new

Elisa Theriana, Indonesia

her joke
still not funny
family text thread

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, USA

war talk materializes innocent bystanders

last leaves
seeing my courage
for what it is

homesick
a few minutes after
the roadkill

Elmedin Kadric, Sweden

shinrin yoku––
my mountain bike
enfolds an aspen

blocking carefully
the dancer turns away
from her therapist

spa getaway––
the fix on our marriage
only skin deep

Eric Lohman, USA

checking the facts
the anchor adjusts
his glasses

Eva Limbach, Germany

advice from
a greying poet . . .
swipe left

Genevieve Wynand, Canada

playground
waiting my turn
for the bench

Memorial Day
the auctioneer asks
for a moment of silence

Greg Schwartz, USA

the mechanics of enemies I decline into fractional sums

GRIX, USA

morning playground
a toddler mansplains
hide-and-seek

Hannah Mahoney, USA

where oceans meet overlapping symptoms

once again
the coos of a pigeon
news on rape

Hemapriya Chellappan, India

night drizzle . . .
an uninterrupted lullaby
of the refugee mother

pulling back
her black hijab
evening storm

fading out
the muezzin’s call––
torrential rain

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

PTSD
the tremor in the flame
he fails to trim

J. Zimmerman, USA

my daughter
tightens her grasp
. . . deep end

James Schlett, USA

making pies four generations into pumpkin and pecan

Jo Balistreti, USA

men’s club
eons of evolution
on the half shell

manicured lawn
the candidate’s sign
by a rabbit hole

spit-shined shoes
the Purple Heart vet
rolls to the mic

blacktop road
men in orange jumpsuits
among the litter

Joe McKeon, USA

retirement day
the realisation
I’m ready for jazz

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

visitation day
funeral director cleans
the welcome mat

John J. Dunphy, USA

watering hole
father sinks
another beer

John McManus, United Kingdom

last cigarette
I cling to my side
of the argument

Joshua Gage, USA

damned if I do
damned if I don’t
trauma therapy

Julie Bloss Kelsey, USA

when the knots
were on purpose
daisy chains

June Rose Dowis, USA

buried
in an unclaimed field
her childhood dreams

Kat Lehmann, USA

wide awake
counting the skeins
of unknit woolens

resisting the urge
to pull on a tangled thread
family argument

Kate MacQueen, USA

virgin birth
even though I wasn’t born
yesterday

Kath Abela Wilson, USA

Kelly Sauvage Angel, USA

family dinner
I find fault
with the silverware

summer Zoom meeting
the backyard birds
refuse to mute

Kristen Lindquist, USA

but for an ill-timed
sneeze––
silent prayer

forty years old
my future doctor
is born

Laurie D. Morrissey, USA

our old coal house
the scent
of black and blue

a horsefly dying
under the jar
this side of me

migrant worker
turning the apples
bruises down

Lew Watts, USA

talk of recounts––
i pitch more kernels
into the popcorn pot

Lori Becherer, USA

afternoon shadow
writing my own
eulogy

Louise Hopewell, Australia

sherpa
only carrying
my libido

Lucia Fontana, Italy

grandmother
hand-stitching a new breast
from flour sack

Marilyn Fleming, USA

Mark Bowler, United Kingdom

watching
the hour hand move
half a bottle left

Marta Chocilowska, Poland

trying to determine
if he’s looking at me––
group zoom call

Mary McCormack, USA

wishbone––
on the short end
of a love triangle

Mary Stevens, USA

lockdown
opening up
the liquor cabinet
I take inventory
of essentials

quarantine
I pull a grey hair
from my brush

lockdown #2
my second chance
not to learn
how to cook, bake, sew,
speak another language

Maureen Virchau, USA

ellipsis all the lines I could have lived

Meg Arnot, United Kingdom

crossing the bridge
our last argument
in the rearview mirror

Michael Kitchen, USA

developing
a complex
about my simplicity

rifle shot
the time it takes
to turn my head

Mike Rehling, USA

a foot
in the door
stepfather

Mike White, USA

espresso coffee . . .
what she knows of my
daily grind

Trevi fountain
she tosses two coins
I, three

Milan Rajkumar, India

blowing bubbles . . .
grandpa loses
his wrinkles

Neena Singh, India

watering
all my roses
valentine’s day

Neha Talreja, India

evening walk
everyone’s version
of six feet

Nick Hoffman, Ireland

blooming cactus
my mom’s
first steps

Nikolay Grankin, Russia

spilled milk
the new mother cries
over her pump

papa’s story
in his sighs
another story

Pat Davis, USA

undressing in the dark
with every year
more apologies

Peter Jastermsky, USA

long weekend
learning to talk
to the cat

Philmore Place, Belarus

through a window––
the neighbor’s window

Pippa Phillips, USA

solemn night
how carefully
words exit

Richa Sharma, India

Y chromosome
the long arm
of the law

Robert Davey, United Kingdom

age five––
it’s not your fault
mother says

birth of a death poem

Roberta Beach Jacobson, USA

first day of spring
the lawnmower fails
to fix itself

Rp Verlaine, USA

corona Christmas––
the tree decorated
with IOUs

Ruth Holzer, USA

morning news
I add to my coffee
a couple of wars

Sanela Pliško, Croatia

a break
in her voice also
valentine’s day

Sarah E. Metzler, USA

confession––
a strand of long hair
on his purple chasuble

Silva Trstenjak, Croatia

50th reunion
this is why no one
stayed in touch

Sondra J. Byrnes, USA

Lip Reading

home alone . . .
mother’s lipstick
on her lips

nude lipstick
the teacher’s wry
smile

under her mask
big sister’s lipstick . . .
first date

following
his gaze to her mouth…
lip reading

lip liner
learning to say
no

Stella Pierides, Germany & United Kingdom

friend’s funeral
I am the one
a stranger

Suraj Nanu, India

seances . . .
even the spirits don’t
talk to me

Surashree Joshi, India

squeezing
the hanger––
how easily
you get bent
out of shape

Susan Burch, USA

beach party––
another throw
of the dice

Susan King, United Kingdom

empty glass
psychoanalyzing
her emoticons

Tanya McDonald, USA

damp dawn
in these coughs
my father appears

Ted Sherman, United Kingdom

concealing her smile
under a burqa––
shadowed moon

Teji Sethi, India

OCD
the whole world
in a crooked frame

Terri L. French, USA

smoker’s cough
the nervous words
of the doctor

Tim Gardiner, United Kingdom

detox
I don’t ask anyone
how I look

Vandana Parashar, India

family reunion
drowning in
my gene pool

Wayne Runningbuck Hunt, USA

relearning
the etiquettes of life
language lessons

Zahra Mughis, Pakistan

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Issue 33 – Haibun & Gembun

Haibun

Sorry, Mom

I can’t remember the taste of the fried Spam sandwiches I ate as a kid nor the headaches they gave me, but I’ve heard the stories. And later as a young adult, when grandpa had just died from a brain tumor and migraine headaches hospitalized me, you would blame yourself and your fried Spam sandwiches, would confess the doctor had told you to stop feeding me Spam, would apologize for being poor, would apologize for everything. It runs in the family. We’re always sorry for something. It might be our fault.

after the wake
second-guessing my taste
in whiskey

Bob Lucky, Portugal

Bitters

Only a few family members bothered showing up to stand vigil by her deathbed. All of them quiet and cold. A reflection of their upbringing. Grandma was already a petite woman and illness had whittled her down to bones. It must have taken every ounce of strength still in her to sit up, point to grandfather and call out, “Clarence, I pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary that someday you will burn in hell!” Not long after that, she finally found, in death, the peace she had always wanted but couldn’t have in life.

the old pub
forgetting which stool
was his

Bryan Rickert, USA

The Speaker Drones On

I drawl to my friend, “It’s been a wonderful year for me. The covid pandemic has opened up multiple avenues on virtual open-mics for my poetry—making new friends, and connected with old—I’ll be sad when the vaccine stops all this Zooming. It’s been so much fun.”

on mute
I open another
bottle of wine

John S Green, USA

Latch

On the third morning, I woke in a puddle, pinned and in pain, unable to move. “Bring me the baby,” I whispered.

skin to skin the lore of engorgement

Kat Lehmann, USA

How She Was

My poet friend Elva is no longer here but her husband, over ninety, like she was, likes to share their stories. For her life celebration she planned a party. I played host, as she would have wanted, but it was her older friends that had the twinkles in their eyes and knew the most. They’d memorized poems from her “Being She” and her recipe for blue martinis. And shared her travel secrets as if she’d given a script.

Statue of David
her mischievous look
as she placed the rose

Kath Abela Wilson, USA

In the Dark

The frequency of a dog whistle usually exceeds 20,000 Hz, beyond the audible range of the human ear. The one in my hand also appears to be silent to my 6-month old pup. Is it faulty? How would I know?

faking it
I say it was good
for me too

Lew Watts, USA

Lukewarm

I’m no longer sure I believe hell exists, or god for that matter, but it was embedded in me that suicide is a sin. . . and that’s one belief I just can’t seem to shake.

southern baptist
the church pew’s
fresh graffiti

Lori A Minor, USA

Against the Grain

September, 1994

Early on this warm autumn day Rome’s Spanish Steps have already gathered crowds. Couples and groups stroll across the Piazza di Spagna from cafés, shops and the American Express office. Some pause to take snapshots beside the Barcaccia and drink from the fountain. Others wander up the steps and flop, arms around their pals’ shoulders, eating gelato and sculling Cokes in a buzz of laughter and talk. Old travertine disappears under sprawling young bodies. Artists set up where they can squeeze an easel between terracotta tubs of pink bougainvillea, dashing off pencil portraits and watercolours of St Peters. Off to one side, an Asian man writes a girl’s name on a rice grain for good luck. I watch as he tucks his work into a small glass vial filled with clear oil. He loops this around her neck on a leather cord. Lire change hands. She beckons her friend who says her name. The calligrapher nods, tips a new long white seed into a palm, gives his technical pen a shake and begins inscribing the tiny characters for Mary.

double lines
of bent backs
spring paddy

Marietta McGregor, Australia

Gembun

a hundred black wings cluster a cawing horizon

a fork in the road
in our lives
these autumn decisions

does our thirst play tricks on us

groping
in the ground fog
I become the answer

Kala Ramesh, India

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