The Planet Poems by Stephen Philip Druce


Planet Jazarane - 
where rustling herds of marching embers,
ooze a masquerade of tickled trenches
in seething dominion,

torched waterfalls, nourished by zephyr mastery,
lurch languid in a godly zeal of paradigm vanity,

sandcastle-shaped serpents trigger-spew
a soaring horizon of tangled theaters in
screeching flower cages,

scalded in sodden shadow, the swooping
goose machine scatters its crinkled chimes
in a sensory mist of ragged tigers 
and skating vulture dust,

the canvas hermit -

nurtured in chalice,

furtive in fountain,

splashed by ruby -

as the wilted maestro sits
in a solitude ceremony
of feathered ferocity -

the pianist's final flourish.


On Planet Jaygorm, skittle creatures
ricochet plumes of alchemy mutants,

skyline overtures in bleak exodus,
squeal their glistening contours in
blundered hysteria and disfigured glee,

distilled in a gallant gory remnant,
the jolted wanderings of loaded crystal
chambers, fickle mutiny in 
supernatural solace,

as the jarring sorcerers etch ephemeral 
their supine shards of howling epilogues
in burlesque assembly,

the crooked stars in hooded vaults,
yearn to bedevil their tawdry transcripts -
unkempt for the ether.


On Planet Yizzaro, crawling corridors
of glazed limpets in clustered folly,
cascade a symphony blossom to tantalize
the tattered artist in a towering squalor
of lampooned puppets ablaze,

plunged in feral escapade,
a dalliance interlude of watercolor 
vessels drip their fluttered meadows 
for willow portraits in starry infancy
and shimmering bliss,

hounded by the giddy margins,
the creaking valley - listless for rhapsody,
mutters its hollow blessings in a saintly
pattern of glimmering sapphire -
the treasured muse in slender desertion.

Stephen Philip Druce is a fifty nine year old speculative poet from Shrewsbury in the UK.His poems are planet based. They describe the events that take place on the planets that exist in his imagination. He has previous publications with The Lothlorien, The Cannon’s Mouth, The Seventh Quarry, Muse International Journal Of Poetry, Cake, Conceit, The Lemon Press, The Playerist, Ink Sweat And Tears and many more.He is published in the USA, the UK, Canada and India. Stephen has an Ebook released in the USA- ‘Quirky Shorts’ and has written articles for The Daily Squib. He’s also written songs for theatre plays in London, and poetry for radio stations, including Radio 4 Extra. He’s on Wikipedia too -as author for The Playerist Magazine. He self- published two books on Amazon : ‘A Naughty British Comedy’ and ‘A Shrewsbury Poet’.His favorite poets : Charles Bukowski, W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison.

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Scotland & Further Poems by Karol Nielsen


We took a family trip to Scotland and toured the country in a minivan. My great grandmother 
had Scottish roots. Her maiden name was Bothwell. My grandfather said we descended from a 
Scottish earl, Lord Bothwell, who kidnapped and married Mary, Queen of Scots. We visited 
Bothwell Castle and learned the history. Mary, Queen of Scots’ third and final husband—James 
Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell—was not our ancestor. It was one of my grandfather’s tall tales.

Flashes of Inspiration

I used to come up with a new poem in order to have something to read at my monthly open mic. 
I was always inspired by colorful experiences in the city. I began to write in big bursts based on 
memories during the pandemic when live encounters were few and far between. Now I notice the 
woman with a neon green afro, the police explorer with a diamond stud on her tooth, the sleepy 
teen in pajamas and Winnie the Pooh slippers on the subway. I have flashes of inspiration as life 
returns to normal.

Dead Poets Society

My Israeli boyfriend and I had one of our first disagreements over the movie Dead Poets Society. 
In the film, prep school students are inspired by their teacher to embrace poetry and seize the 
day—carpe diem! One of the students, an aspiring actor, shoots himself after his father enrolls 
him in military school. “I don’t want to see this guy in Israel,” my boyfriend said. He had completed 
his mandatory military service in Israel during the first intifada. I defended the film, but he 
wouldn’t budge. It was an early sign of our divorce. Now I surround myself with poets and writers 
who feed my soul.


I started to Google myself after I went to a party with poets and writers hosted by my urban 
writers’ colony. People kept asking what I did and I said I was a writing instructor with a memoir 
in progress. Most of the people I talked to were published authors who said they would look me up 
online. I felt self conscious because I had not published a book. When I got home I Googled myself 
to see what they would see. I was astounded when I saw a link to The Best American Essays. My first 
published essay had been named a notable essay in the anthology and I had no idea. This lucky 
discovery prompted more searches. Now I check DuckDuckGo. I find unexpected reviews of my books 
by strangers and poems published without a formal acceptance. I cannot resist the urge to look for 
more happy surprises.


Karol Nielsen is the author of the memoirs Walking A&P and Black Elephants and three poetry chapbooks. Her first memoir was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her full-length poetry collection was a finalist for the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her poem “This New Manhattan” was a finalist for the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize

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FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG & further Poems by Byron Beynon


I imagine myself
inside an Edward Hopper panting,
sitting in a diner
alone and motionless,
the black coffee getting cold,
waiting for something
within me to change 
when suddenly the atmosphere
eases and I hear
a trumpet sound
played by a lean,
cool Chet Baker
embracing my silent mood,
reaching out across 
the evening shadows,
touching my sleeve,
taking me along
with those strong adjectives of music
which climb and soar
above the oppressive
streets and traffic,
telling me calmly of a way
to get through.


With one glimpse
Keats manages
to catch in a June letter
the Welsh mountains,
his motion of days
on tour,
moving swiftly
he remembers Lancaster
with its cacophony of shuttles,
a transition brought
by new experiences of activity,
an action travelling 
forwards in thought. 


After the vortex of Parisian
streets and traffic,
we sat inside the calm square
where lunch-hour workers
relaxed and fledgling infants
played near a peaceful museum,
once Victor Hugo's house.
Days that are windows
reflecting the supreme air of spring,
as an incorrigible bird
sang its unrehearsed notes
with an admired optimism.


The continuous search
for the room with a view,

to wake one morning
clear-headed with naked eyes

to witness the promise of a breathing landscape,
optimistic yellow, garden-mint green, peaks of orange.

I’d watch the delivery of colours,
listen to a delicious language

echo from purple hills,
words pausing on a table-top

as the sensuous air embraced the limbs of the trees,
a prepared windowpane
clearing itself like the tone of a determined voice.


The heat of an afternoon
enters with a trade of tourists;

conception's myth entertained
by a deliberate pose

near a barrel's erect 
eye filled with flowers.

Within a defensive wall
rebuilt by convicts you can sense

the swell of commands,
perspiration draining from captured pores,

a pungent aroma of sea breath,
the sway of lost time,

thinking of families 
they'd never see again.

An uneasy warmth
stalks the mind like a predator,

about to flare up,
poised to strike an oppressive blow. 

Byron Beynon coordinated Wales’s contribution to the anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann). His work has featured in several publications including Agenda, Quadrant, Wasafiri, Cyphers, The London Magazine, Nixes Mate Review (Boston), Poetry Wales, English: Journal of the English Association, and the human rights anthology In Protest (University of London and Keats House Poets). Several collections, including The Echoing Coastline (Agenda) and Where Shadows Stir (The Seventh Quarry Press) which was launched at the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, Swansea in February 2023.”

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Three Poems Excerpts from Wrappings in Bespoke Collected Poems by Sanjeev Sethi


Investing emotions when other operating levers exist, 
loving without the privilege of parenthood is an essay
in emptiness. In some eyes, I can see myself. I’m inured 
to their throes. Come, let us camouflage grief in girdles 
of guffaw. Let this be our memory.

You and I inhaled prescriptions scried by sources beyond 
our breath. By then, my sight was misted by the smoke 
of your sticky tune. As with passive smokers, we nip and 
sometimes nurse. An opisthograph on love is not enough: 
lived lives have other needs. 


There was a phase, longish period when I read,
I scrived but didn’t put it in print. Tick-tock of 
my pendulum was on a cerebrational mode. 
Like a bodhi of sorts, I built a blindstory, 
quieter than all the calm there is. College 
friend, a bureaucrat, called. My apodictic 
response was to share not show-off. While 
cutting off, his har-de-har translated as loser. 


In the statuary of my branular orb, your figurine shines the sharpest.
When fate conspires to have us face to face, you bring to naught 
the herringbone fabric I primp your mannequin with. I like the layers 
I pad you with: you’re you, plus my decoupage. This suits our setting.
The dominion of physical distance invigorates our weal with you 
chirking best inside me, heedful of my heart as your homestead. 

Sanjeev Sethi has authored seven books of poetry. His latest is Wrappings in Bespoke (The Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK, August 2022). He has been published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 400 journals, anthologies, and online literary venues. He edited Dreich Planet #1, an anthology for Hybriddreich, Scotland, in December 2022. He is the joint winner of the Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux, organized by Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK. In 2023, he won the First Prize in a Poetry Competition by the prestigious National Defence Academy, Pune. He was recently conferred the 2023 Setu Award for Excellence. He lives in Mumbai, India.
X/ Twitter @sanjeevpoems3 || Instagram sanjeevsethipoems

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Dreams and Meanderings of the Fading Mind
(For Some Ladies I Met in Hospital)
by Sara L Russell aka PinkyAndrexa

Was it on a Wednesday
we used to go round to theirs?
Oh you know, that
slightly funny couple down the road.
She used to talk for England;
even the dog was bored.
I’ll swear it used to blow off just to
get her out of the kitchen.
She had one of those whatchamacallits
under her bed in the spare room.
You could fit everything in it.

Would you like some more tea, dear?
Did you find the tea bags box?
What do you mean, it’s in the fridge?
What’s it doing in there?
No, I would never keep it there.
Not that I know of.

Whatsername over the road is kicking off
again, this time about cats
doing their business on her lawn.

Oh by the way, when’s Ted coming home?

Oh no, did he? Oh that’s a shame.
a shame about old Ted.

I’m getting tired now.
Thanks for coming over.
Turn off the lights on your way out.

Put the children in the sink
and I’ll wash ‘em in the morning.

Sara L Russell aka pinkyandrexa

Sara Louise Russell, aka PinkyAndrexa, is a UK poet and poetry ezine editor, specialising particularly in sonnets, lyric-style poetry and occasionally writing in more modern styles. She founded Poetry Life & Times and edited it from 1998 to 2006, when she handed it over to Robin Ouzman Hislop and Amparo Arrospide; Robin now runs it as Editor from Poetry Life & Times at this site.  Her poems and sonnets have been published in many paper and online publications including Sonnetto Poesia, Mindful of Poetry and Autumn Leaves a monthly Poetry ezine from the late Sondra Ball. Her sonnets also currently appear in the recently published anthology of sonnets Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. She is also one of the first poets ever to be published on multimedia CD ROMs, published by Kedco Studios Inc.; the first one being Pinky’s Little Book of Shadows, which was featured by the UK’s national newspaper The Mirror, in October 1999. (Picture link for Mirror article) Angel Fire. And the 2024 AI version of The Perils of Norris cartoon, by Sara L Russell using Canva Pro AI, Episode 1. The Perils of Norris featured at this site Poetry Life and Times

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Angelic, Summertime, Soaked. 3 Poems by Hiram Larew


I am of you very --
         harked and widely
         truly hovered
         raised on twirls and wonders
My arms above are lifted towards you
	over flowing

And my heart is truly spread
         or split or stirred upon you
         beyond unending pieces

I am wings as much as 
         all above you
         above what may be surely 

I blaze upon your eyes that say  
         how flames may fling 
         as must our moths 
On fizzling air arrive
         and forward as can rise
         I fly unto you  

I am of you ever 
         in swept up breath 
         on shuddering time 
         as if you will me purely --
So radiantly scattered by
         or lifted high to craze 
For I am come to you as trumpets
         and through you always
         as if for wings to be or tell
         in any sky
         of you for you alone

Angelic -- This poem first appeared in Empyrean Literary Magazine.


Fold up the table
         and chairs
Pack up to go
It’s time
The crowd is thinning out fast
         and the parking lot field is emptying

So unplug everything
Take down the flag
Zip the snacks back into bags
And make sure everything else is put away in boxes

Wave goodbye
Step over there to shake hands and mention next week
Start to leave and then
Look back to double check
         that nothing’s left behind


Fame must be like driving 
        in a downpour
        or squinting through it --
        trying to see 
        what’s what at night
        with no one else around
        but loudly.

Or maybe being well known means in fact that
        wet shirts finally feel normal. 
Maybe in fact if you suddenly do get the chills 
        from all the headlines
        then those shivers will cause you to 
        simply say Well thank you.

Truth be told acclaim is probably like when creeks flood  
	your low ground
        and trees and dogs are just laughing 
        from dry above
        as you float by

Yes, popularity must be like her basement smells --
        special and forever --
        long after your granny turns in her ticket
        for good.

Soaked -- The poem first appeared in Poetry Catalog. 


BioFounder of Poetry X Hunger: Bringing a World of Poets to the Anti-Hunger Cause, Larew has had poems appear in recent issues of West Trade Review, Contemporary American Voices and The Iowa Review. His most recent collection, Patchy Ways, was published in 2023 by CyberWit Press. and A 2-minute video of a poem being magically translated into American Sign Language — Eric Epstein’s American Sign Language Interpretation of Larew’s Poem, “Magic” – YouTube

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Press. Excerpts from Seasons in the Sun. Winter’s Breath 3 Poems by Annest Gwilym

Days like this to be read as honey

For the child I never had
    I would give you: the honeydrip of low sun on the horizon; a cold that sugar-coats mountain tops, collides cells and atoms; all the tree-lined hours of your dreams; a moonsuck and sunstruck clock stuck at youth; four seasons in a day. In my witchery I would line up jars of bright starshine on your windowsill; conjure Caravaggio days, raining pomegranate seeds; trap it all in amber. And if you ever lived, you could live it too.
First published in the PK Project Quixotic Travellers, December 2018. Also published in Caught in the Net, November 2019. In the Immensity of Night
    Things with invisible hands unlatch the doors unseen Creep on silent feet around my floating bed Tap their long, strong nails on my wooden headboard Whisper poetry in my sleep which evaporates at dawn A crinkle of leaves gathers at the base of the bed While the sea laps at my front door lost and miles from home Baby crabs with tiny pincers knock, want to enter The herons are watching as gulls tear candy-floss clouds Outside is dangerous, static-filled inside is better I pull the duvet under my chin I think I’ll stay here
Winter’s Breath
    Winter’s breath is snow-dust prophecy, humus and moss-scented ache of leaf mould from autumn on the floor. Under the cold, clear fire of stars its wind corrugates the sea’s iron in the silent meadows of the night. Winter’s woods are antlered, dark, fox-sharp, full of long, wolfish shadows that follow you home. Its eye is pale, glaucous; air salted with frost, whose sharp proboscis probes every crack and crevice. Winter is a black and white country. The old know this: it strips flesh from trees, flowers, bones.

Annest Gwilym is the author of three books of poetry. Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), were both published by Lapwing Publications. What the Owl Taught Me was Poetry Kit’s Book of the Month in June 2020 and one of North of Oxford’s summer reading recommendations in 2020. Annest has been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, both online and in print, and placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She was the editor of the webzine Nine Muses Poetry from 2018-2020. She was a nominee for Best of the Net 2021. Her third book of poetry – Seasons in the Sun – was published by Gwasg Carreg Gwalch in September 2023 and was Poetry Kit’s Book of the Month in November 2023 as well as being one of their Christmas reading recommendations. She has been nominated for the Wales Book of the Year Award 2024/Gwobr Llyfr y Flwyddyn 2024. Seasons in the Sun is available from Amazon and other places. It is also available from all bookshops in Wales.

The Prose Poems of EM Schorb


At heart, speed is about being where you are going sooner than you can get there, and putting it all behind you. As you race forward to get where you are going, much is dropping behind, falling away from your frontal interest, as it were. If you were as fast as an atom, say, you could probably spin back and pick up some of what you have left behind and so take it with you as you propel forward, wherever that is now—for we have thoroughly muddled the issue in having gone back to pick up what was left behind because in having gone back we have made back forward, forward back. At heart, speed is an attempt to avoid as much as possible until we get to something we may or may not have in mind and stop there, but of course as we arrive there we find that we have just left and are now on our way to something that resembles in its lack of interest to us all that we have attempted to leave behind, so, in a sense, we are going backward, or, we should be going backward, toward what we wanted to get to in the first place. At heart, speed is our heart beating and speeding its beat until it has run out of beats. At heart, then, speed is our heart excitedly beating a trail to its end.

No es sueño la vida.
¡Alerta! ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta!

I tug the strings of my fear, my bad puppet, Diablo, and tap him about this space, my first and last stage, last props, last lights, behind and in front of my painted screen. See, I pull up a leg and he hops, hops, hops! Who are you, Diablo? Herr Hitler, con permiso. Then hop, Hitler, hop! Garcia will be dead when I do this jig under the Arc de Triomphe. Not amusing, Diablo. Be something else. I want light and color! Then look at my gypsy dress, all layered, laced, ribboned, and brocaded—scarlet, gold, and green. Feel the wide wind of my rich fan. Hear my diamonded castanets! When did you put that on? An instant ago, behind the screen, when you were talking. But now I’ll be Franco and rise against the Republic. Another ugly joke! But in an instant, true! Just let me don this uniform. I love good fun, but this is wicked. Night must fall, Federico, even if it frightens you. Diablo, I command you, take off that uniform, with its golden shoulder-mops and scrambled eggs and salads. I wish I could drop the reins of your dark horse. Who am I now? Wait, I recognize you. You’re a man from my hometown, a granadino. Your name is. . . Diablo! Yes, and I am jealous of your genius. I call you out! I name you Red! Red, red, red! I am a poet. I hate politics. Nevertheless, I charge you, Federico Garcia Lorca, with crimes against the state . . . of my ego. And what now? Bang, bang, you’re dead! Am I dead, Diablo? In an unmarked grave! Is it dark, Federico? No darker than this dark century, Diablo.


A muse has responsibilities, too. She owes her worker a few but important debts of honor. If a muse is going to come to an artist, thinker, dancer, or whatever, she owes it to that worker to stay until the job is done, not desert at the first opportunity. She owes him, who has been loyal to her, her loyalty. She owes it to him not to play such tricks as muses are known to play, i.e., not to inspire him with false inspiration, so that his work is false; and she owes it to him to give of herself freely and not to tease him with half measures. Muses are notoriously whimsical, and they must be brought to book on this account. It is high time that they grew up, that they realized they are playing games with someone’s life, for an artist’s work is his or her life. Muses should be answerable to somebody. They should be compelled to file reports on the progress of their workers at least once a year. Has he taken you up on your offer of an epic? Has she recruited enough dancers for the show? Questions such as these should be posed. Also, have you offered an epic lately? Have you found the requisite number of dancers? Responsibility for the ultimate work must be shared, and shame to the muse who refuses to share. I am calling in all that you owe me, O Muse, a lifetime of suffering in your name.


A stripper stripped down to her skin, then began to remove her skin by means of a zipper up the back and two more down the backs of the legs. Then she began to remove the muscles, unhooking them from the joints, like springs, and laying them out on the stage. What throbbing music! An old man in the front row fainted. A doctor in the back row called Stop! But the stripper proceeded to strip down to the bone, so that all that was left on the stage was a dancing skeleton. Somebody said it was a trick. But her skull-face called back, Dig it, boys—this is the real thing! Then the stripper snapped some bones out, one of her thighbones, one of her arm bones. A collar bone flew into the air to the sound of a drumroll. She picked up the collar bone, broke it, and shook some marrow from it. Then she called, That’s it for tonight, boys. And as the curtains swooped down and closed, she was heard by the audience to order the attendants backstage to gather up her things. Hurry, she was overheard to say, I’ve got a heavy date.


Hallelujah! saw X twenty-two thousand five-hundred miles off blue Earth, heavenly luminous body, nebulous, long-tailed, fiery Cross, cross Heaven like a comet, airless incandescent meteor-Messiah, whirling Aether, leagues-arcing rainbow-halo of lights, sprites, rolling, rolled into one long-suffering, fragmented Star, returning & returning. The ecumenical others, crew of All Faiths, bound out for the dead red planet, Mars, doubters, saw the Un-identifiable Flying Object, too, but cautioned: a star-cluster, an optical illusion, looking really more like a scimitar, caduceus, fylfot, The Wisdom Tree, a whirling glowing Saucer! Hallelujah! he cried at the infinite night. The links of stars, like bars, crossed everywhere . . . and beyond them, galactic webs, far glittering spiders climbing space. In this vastness, this immensity of lights, his soul seemed unmeterable, or an impertinence imprisoned in endlessness. The others kept bitten-tongued silence in face of this—this what? Vision? Hallucination? Madness? What should they bear witness to? It was too late to abort Mission Mars, too late to turn back. The dead red planet loomed ahead.


E. M. Schorb attended New York University, where he fell in with a group of actors and became a professional actor. During this time, he attended several top-ranking drama schools, which led to industrial films and eventually into sales and business. He has remained in business on and off ever since, but started writing poetry when he was a teenager and has never stopped. His collection, Time and Fevers, was a 2007 recipient of an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing and also won the “Writer’s Digest” Award for Self-Published Books in Poetry. An earlier collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press. Other collections include Reflections in a Doubtful I, The Ideologues, The Journey, Manhattan Spleen: Prose Poems, 50 Poems, and The Poor Boy and Other Poems.

Schorb’s work has appeared widely in such journals as The Yale Review, The Southern Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Chicago Review, The Sewanee Review, The American Scholar, and The Hudson Review.

At the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2000, his novel, Paradise Square, was the winner of the Grand Prize for fiction from the International eBook Award Foundation, and later, A Portable Chaos won the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction in 2004.

Schorb has received fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the North Carolina Arts Council; grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, the Carnegie Fund, Robert Rauschenberg & Change, Inc. (for drawings), and The Dramatists Guild, among others. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets, and the Poetry Society of America.

Books available at

Dates and Dreams, Writer’s Digest International Self-
Published Book Award for Poetry, First Prize

Paradise Square, International eBook Award
Foundation, Grand Prize, Fiction, Frankfurt Book Fair

A Portable Chaos, The Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction,
First Prize

Murderer’s Day, Verna Emery Poetry Prize, Purdue
University Press

Time and Fevers, The Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry
and Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Book
Award for Poetry, each First Prize


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