Woodmanland. 3 Poems by Peter Mladinic


Rejection’s not the end of the world.
Were there no rejection—
from an editor, from a bank,
from a would be paramour—
there’d be no acceptance, no embrace
in the world of letters,
in life, in love. The sting of hate
quite real. Then there’s indifference—
a feeling of numb like when
you get a shot in your hand
and your hand is numb—
only it’s all in your mind.
The end of the world is like when the man
went out for a pizza and came home
and found his wife dead
on the living room floor; or John
who snapped his briefcase open
and shut before going into class,
and I know Susan remembers that snap
and learned as I did he died in his sleep.
The lump in the breast, the X ray’s
dark spot are signs. The night
our town’s chief of police was out
in the middle of nowhere, not wearing
a seatbelt, spelled the end.
My father at the end battled cancer.
When healthy he bowled strikes,
won games for his team.
Why we always hear of someone’s
battling cancer miffs me.
It’s not like Daniel fighting the lion
in the Bible. Maybe it is.


I like you unconditionally
My like for you is a red rose bouquet
an armful of flowers
I’d like to place in your arms

I’d like to pet your horse Tricky
My like for you is a white cloud
in a blue sky
a pond on which ducks glide

like that song Night and Day
coming through headphones
I want to know your eyelashes

Have you ever been to the sweetheart
festival in Clovis?
Have you ever said I’m Angela
while shaking hands with a man
with a name tag on his shirt?

You love Tricky, Tricky loves you
Other than that I assume nothing
Do you bowl, drink Diet Coke?
Have you a pen pal in Indiana?

I’m full of questions
I wish they were long-stemmed white

I’d like to know something
about your eyelashes
and if you talk on an iPhone or an android
Your blood-type, social security number and

Where do you see yourself five years
from now don’t concern me
What kind of perfume you wear
I’m more interested in stuff like that


I want to move to Woodmanland,
there very different from here.
For one, trees. Also cold.
No ice fisher, my embrace the cold days
past, still I want to.
What would a place be like
in the middle of its name man?
Long winters, lots of trees, few people.
A hospital close by? Might not have to look
far to see a moose. I’ve never seen one.
A dirty look from a person’s one thing,
but a moose? Racks
like dishes on roofs for cable, only oval,
shatter ribs in the wild, steeped in snow.

I’d rather see a moose from a bus window,
or the moose sits next to me on the bus.
I name him Roger. We pull into Houlton,
boringly like where I am. Only cleaner.
Roger says, What you don’t see is the high
crime rate.
—But it’s so clean.
He says, Looks can deceive.
Why did you want to leave where you were?
—I liked the name, but now we’re in Houlton.
Have you ever been to Woodmanland?
Yes, he says. Now I’m with you, only,
I’m not real, and you’ve gone nowhere.
Oh, but I have, I think, not saying so,
not wanting to contradict a moose.

Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico. His fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications.

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Wait Until Spring Poems by Bradford Middleton


I sit here at last, 
At long fucking last, 
Free as a bird just like the Skynyrd used to sing about
At last free from the distraction of work
Or survival in a town where I very nearly
Gave up all hope.

Today, however, I sit here
In a place that one day, a very long time
From now I hope, will be home
And yet it already does as the
Stress and horror of my other life
Is finally eviscerated as I return to 
These blessed Arms of Love


With a few months away,
Stuck working on the fiction 
As I got used to my new job,
It feels good, no, scratch that
This feels fucking great to
Even just sit here & write this
Poem for no one but me
Just to say 10 new poems
In the last 8 days shows I
Still got it & man alive I
Feel this could be 
The dawning of a new day
When I just got to feel glad
To be alive!


As the nights come to close later with every passing
Setting of the sun you’ll see the expressions of the down & 
Out and those not much removed from the pavement change
As the realisation that spring is on its way and will
Soon be here to captivate all but provide, for us down
Here at least, a brief respite from another night spent on a
Mattress in an ice-box of a room or for those poor souls 
Who call the street their home.



Bradford Middleton still lives in Brighton on England’s south-coast where he works part-time in a shop and full-time on his words. His latest book, The Whiskey Stings Good Tonight, was recently published by the Alien Buddha Press. Recent poems have appeared in Cajun Mutt Press, Cacti Fur, Fixator Press, Horror Sleaze Trash, Rye Whiskey Review and the glorious Mad Swirl. He tweets occasionally @BradfordMiddle5.

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When the Art No Longer Remains. 3 Poems by Ralph Monday

Rome’s Mythic Hills

Among  Rome's mythic hills 
this is what I told you:
The Moon is an old and silver rimmed lover,
blood burned pewter at night prowling
the Colosseum's sands.
Why are Americans so savage?
Look to the wolf nature engendered by Rome,
bird Auguries spun into DNA across a
time never ended. The world did not
become dark. The wolf retired to her lair
and slept while the West went into
supernatural amnesia.
Reason and fancy are strange bedfellows.
Shall you undergo Inquisition? Perhaps
it's been following all of us.
Come now, take my hand. Let us 
stroll through these familiar ruins, Faustina.
Soon the mother of the world will be dead.

Bring Us Soft Graces

If we only could achieve a kind
of grace,
to love and feast as the ancients
did, like gods turning in bed on
Mt. Olympus.

I think we both have long been
(futilely) looking for Plato’s sphere
but we can’t even find half an orange
to piece back together, let alone imagine a
future spoken out in syncopated syllables.
If we could we would incarnate both spirit
and flesh in moments undarkened by
the past pains that others have brought.

But one can never escape those textured
times, for what we were always walks
with us, like shadows cast on a yellowed

The body we once had is not the
flesh we now carry, for the cells
replace every seven years. The
mind that we once had has been
tempered with interactions of others
where we listened to their foolish

Abstracted form does hold meaning,
and that is what we have become: a
type of fragmented cubism rendered up
in 1920s Paris.

If only we could embrace soft
graces. If only we could make the
pieces fit a new puzzle. 

Ah, wouldn’t it be pretty to think

When the Art No Longer Remains

Seventeen turned to thirty-five
deep in the troughs of his own tides
he will presently forget the nights and days 
with her, the shared moons from month to

The tales that they created, moments of
ice and fire, of victories on the playing
fields, defeats that were ignored.

Stories can only carry so far, before they
settle into mystery and myth, into buried
layer after layer, where they change,
through the years and move us back to

truck headlights knifing the dark on the
interstate, to going down to the still
waters and drinking, to wash off the
deep sins that can never be winter white.

They weren’t really battles, no
dark ages crusades, merely seasonal
skirmishes that neither knew the meaning

I have seen many autumns with Bradford leaves
blazed and burnt reds, oranges, and yellows,
the ripened pear and apple, leaves burnt
with frost, foliage like some randomly
thrown design, an Arabian carpet thick
with memory, desire.

Is there a Mind producing a Design?
This is a mystery that cannot be
plumbed, only hinted at by art, and
we never had a design, only a random
blueprint made up as we went along. 


Ralph Monday is Professor of English at RSCC in Harriman, TN. Hundreds of poems published. Books: Al l American Girl and Other Poems, 2014. Empty Houses and American Renditions, 2015. Narcissus the Sorcerer, 2015. Bergman’s Island & Other Poems, 2021, The Book of Appalachia 2023, and a humanities text, 2018. Member Lincoln Memorial University Literary Hall of Fame. Twitter @RalphMonday Poets&Writers https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/ralph_monday

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Transfigured Face. Bilingual Poems from Spanish by Ángel Huerga


don’t want		not to go		don’t want
can’t		not be		no
dancing to this blood divides
sequences dreams cloud by cloud
enclosed behind fingers		last night
crossed the pavement on the corner
perplexed to see you again on the screen
as if someone had been silhouetted against the sky
or a bulldozer had piled up all the light of the slowness as it passed through


no quiero 			no ir 		no quiero
no puedo 		no estar 	no
bailar en esta sangre divide 
secuencia el sueño nube a nube
enrejado entre dedos			anoche
crucé la acera	justo en la esquina
perplejo al re-mirarte en la pantalla
como si hubiera ido surgiendo alguien en lo alto
o una excavadora hubiera apilado toda la luz de lo lento al pasar 

where you touch is not mine		i just want
you to be an other		willing to explore something new
perhaps what used to be constant 	may explode into shared fire 		
the helipad where we used to get dressed
i just want		the fuel of breath	breath		breath
to flare up


donde tocas no es mío		pretendo	
que seas otro		para algo nuevo que explorar
quizá explosione en incendio común	   lo que solía ser constante
la helisuperficie donde solíamos vestirnos
solo pretendo 		que sea brote
el combustible de respirar	respirar	respirar 

he kept on talking about movies
amenabar		juliette binoche		cary grant
alice in wonderland
[alice’s adventures under ground]
sit down		tie my shoes
he pretended to fly like an airplane 	    with his arms outstretched 
north by northwest
get on your knees 		why are you crying?
did I tell you not to go? 

[I have all your pictures and emails.
And don’t tell me you have no father, ‘cause I know he goes by Arturo and 
he’s a delivery man.
I have all the information needed for the danse macabre to start.
Will you please take off your t-shirt?]


hablaba de cine
amenabar		juliette binoche		cary grant
alicia en el país de las maravillas
[las aventuras de alicia bajo tierra]
siéntate			átame los cordones
imitaba el vuelo de un avión		con los brazos extendidos
con la muerte en los talones
ponte de rodillas			¿por qué lloras?
¿te he dicho yo que no puedes irte?	

[Tengo todas tus fotos y tus correos. 
Y no me digas que no tienes padre porque sé que se llama Arturo y que 
es repartidor de café. 
Tengo toda la información necesaria para que empiece la danse macabre. 
¿Puedes subirte la camiseta?] 
                                                       to the seasoned traveller
                                                       a destination is
                                                       at best
                                                       a rumour

the real issue is 
how to locate the narrative line that allows for a beamline beneath the door
we’re talking about infinite degrees of freedom here
you can rotate it
it’ll remain in the same place
do we know the rules? who’s up or down? who’s at the steering wheel?
we can look for (all the) tracks in the carpet
the traces they left we left		a return covenant	       quizá
blah blah blah 		blah blah blah
line = broken line
we retrace our steps and nothing is familiar nothing
which crossbars will be forded		by our caesura?

                                                   para el viajero con experiencia
                                                   un destino es 
                                                   en el mejor de los casos
                                                   un mero rumor

en el fondo 
se trata de la estructura
de localizar la línea narrativa que deje la línea de luz bajo la puerta
hablamos con un grado de libertad infinito	aquí
puedes rotarlo una mil veces	
sigue en el mismo sitio mismo
¿sabemos las reglas?	¿quién sube/baja? ¿quién sigue al volante?
podemos buscar (todas) las huellas en la alfombra
huellas que dejen dejemos		un pacto de vuelta		       maybe
bla bla bla 		bla bla bla
línea = línea rota
re-trazamos los pasos	 y nada familiar nada
¿qué travesaños vadeará		nuestra cesura? 

helicopter. beach. he was walking alone. sometimes we need just one reason to quit. 
an aim over which the skin can be spread. it was just a breeze. smell of newly purchased salt. 
as if uncovering waves. why create such a stir. walking. crime against public health. 
remote database access. they landed. they escorted him. from both sides. just in case. 
in view of the risk. in the line of duty. 


helicóptero. playa. caminaba solo. a veces basta con una razón para huir. 
un objetivo en el que extender la piel. solo era brisa. olor a sal recién comprada. como destapar olas. 
por qué tanto revuelo. caminar. delito contra la salud pública. acceso remoto a todos sus datos. 
aterrizaron. le acompañaron. a ambos lados. por si acaso. por si el peligro. en cumplimiento del deber.  

transfigured face
head and floor separated by a trickle of blood
the gaze walled by an animal silence 

do you believe in life or death?
in life, definitely

both the fall and the body embalmed by the blasting
until the parquet floor pattern is reached

what is it that remains after the last anchoring?

face down he expects something to move
the start of a sob, or a void, or a question
or a delay as abrupt as an ending


se desvive la cara 
un hilo de sangre separa cabeza y suelo
un silencio animal cubre de pared la mirada

¿crees en la vida o en la muerte?
en la vida, por supuesto

la detonación embalsama caída y cuerpo
hasta el patrón del parqué

¿qué permanece en el último anclaje?

bocabajo espera algún movimiento
un principio de llanto o de vacío o de pregunta
o una espera tan simple como un final 

Editor’s Note: The latter two poems were performed at the online venue Transforming with Poetry
8/1/21. by the author. See Facebook page.

Ángel Huerga (León, 1971) has collaborated in literary magazines such as Nayagua (Fundación Centro de Poesía José Hierro, nº 33), Solaria, Siete de Siete.net, and Las hojas del foro, as well as in the book of essays Poetas asturianos para el siglo XXI (Ed. Trea, 2009). Currently, he attends the Camaleones en la Azotea poetry workshop in Madrid, Spain, where he is based, and has contributed to the release of the a4rismos cardboard book edition (Fundación Sindical Ateneo 1º de Mayo y Taller de Poesía Camaleones en la Azotea, 2022).

He is a lyricist for Asturian-based band Fantástico Mundo de Mierda (FMM) (https://fantasticomundodemierda.bandcamp.com/), which has released the following albums: New Software (Lloria Discos, 2005), La Furia del Fin (Algamar Producciones, 2013), and La Fortaleza (self-released, 2018).

Additionally, he has contributed to translating into English some sections of the following works: El genio austrohúngaro. Historia social e intelectual (1848-1938), by William M. Johnston (KRK Ediciones, 2009), and “In bello fortis”: la vida del teniente general irlandés Sir William Parker Carrol (1776-1842), by A. Laspra and B. O’Connell (Fundación Gustavo Bueno, 2009).

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A Late Night Poem About Morning 3 Poems by Kushal Poddar

A Late Night Poem About Morning 

Instead of pasting Goodmorning!
on your lips and ripping out mine
at the first urge to breathe we discover
sending pics.

You send a photo of a strand of my white 
on the black pillow case. A white cane
for a blind lane and for the piers dark with
wetness, water rippling, a few river gulls,
all tide in my mind. Sun walks in my head,
and its sweat beads explode, startle 
our alley cat, pregnant and sad 
as if it already knows the fate of its kittens. 

In a Landscape of Red, White and Grey

The red balloon moon 
keeps the boat afloat.
Snow steps into the slate.

Dream hands over its 
mutinous pamphlets 
to the flesh and drags 
its cold gnawed feet 
towards the ferry.

Now a wind will chase the shine. 
Now I'll wake up with 
a mouthful of slogans 
and "Bella Ciao" stuck in my glottis.

Thirteen Dogs' Piss Mark This Block

The dayspring birds surround silence,
now almost blind, now bewildered
and looking for the home all go in the end
to begin again.

The street lights still burn. The early
tramlines connect the horizon
with the broad mouth of the junction. 
One mad man seeks for the moon beams
last seen electric on these long metals. 
From his left hand hangs a brown teddy 
wrapped in a thin plastic. The locality 
is demarcated by thirteen dogs' piss.
They ask him who he is, and that he doesn't know.

Kushal Poddar ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Understanding The Neighborhood’, ‘Scratches Within’, ‘Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems‘ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’. Find and follow him https://www.amazon.com/Kushal-Poddar The author of ‘Postmarked Quarantine’ has eight books to his credit. He is a journalist, father, and the editor of ‘Words Surfacing’. His works have been translated into twelve languages, published across the globe.
Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe

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I Used to Dream I’d Get So High. 3 Poems by James Croal Jackson


purple palm 
trees on your tank 
top       pink fingernails
clutching milkshake
you sip sun
drenched    Polaroid 
aiming into brick 
wall     red curtain
in the breeze palm 
trees    sky
behind you
all of the future in front

Wrap Party at Arsenal Bowl

Last time we were in this spot,
we broke glasses. on the real-or-
fake (which is it?) marble table.

In my memory, the entire
room is burgundy. wine-
tinted, but I won't let

go, the conviction
of all that spilled
that night, my

mouth, my heart,
the sticky nature
of the surface

that we had
yet to place
our hands on.

I Used to Dream I’d Get So High

Last night, I dreamt I stood
on a tall stack of books, gathered
with others around a roof

like we were at a dinner party.
When I glanced down– finally,
from the top of my tenuous skyscraper,

I had to brace my shoe against
the house to keep myself
from falling back into reality,

but I did anyway, repeating
to the guests anxiety, 
anxiety, anxiety.

I used to dream I’d get so high,
anything was possible. I entered a tower,
beelined to the elevator, and pushed 

the button to the top. Sometimes 
the platform was already ascending. 
Sometimes the whole structure was. 

When the doors (if they existed) parted,
the view from the sky was so rich,
I had to be dreaming. Deep tree greens.

Eternal ocean blue. I returned
to this view often, but stopped
near the end of my twenties. I was 

itinerant at the time, my life 
still an open road ahead
of me. A million meanings yet

to interpret. Not yet bogged by
a steady job but not quite steadied,
living off the promises of strangers 

and the engine of my Ford Fiesta, 
emitting exhaust into the atmosphere,

James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. His latest chapbooks are A God You Believed In (Pinhole Poetry, 2023) and Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022). Recent poems are in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Little Patuxent Review, and The Round. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (jamescroaljackson.com)

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“Grandma”A Poem by Bhuwan Thapaliya

She rose from her makeshift rustic bed

and strained her eyes in the morning sun

shining through termite-eaten windows.

Drank a glass of basil water and then made

her way up a trail on a tough terrain

 to the forest overlooking the Sunkoshi River

 to collect fodder for her cattle.

An old kerosene lamp hangs in the window

of an abandoned building and carved wooden deities

flank a rickety gate. Poor eyesight, back permanently bent

from the burden of heavy loads, feet deformed

and ravaged by walking barefoot on rough terrain,

she looked older than her ancestral deity on a hilltop nearby.

Dry corn leaves rustled underfoot. She picked one

and rubbed it in her palms, smiling at herself

and kneeled down to quench her thirst from a

little burbling creek neighboring her path.

Thereafter, she hastened her pace humming

her favorite song, sung by her mother

when she was young.

“Plant a tree, then another, then many more. 

Maybe we will be able to cleanse the world.”

Every time when she hums this song,

she feels her mother humming it with her too.  

Whistling, she walked deep inside the forest 

and soon her doko was fully fodder crammed.

She looked at the deep blue sky and grinned

as a little girl with rhododendron flowers

in her hands high up in the Himalayas

and then sauntered slowly down the hill,

carrying heavy doko on her back with the namlo straps

on her forehead smiling at her neighbors

showing her uneven teeth, as they prepare

to spread animal fertilizer on their fields.

On the back of her polka-dotted cow,

there was a little bird.

The cows mooed loudly after seeing her.

She fed the cattle and then went inside the kitchen

to cook dal, bhat and tarkari.

In the adjoining room, her hungry children were

already getting ready for their school. 



Bhuwan Thapaliya is a poet writing in English from Kathmandu, Nepal. He works as an economist and is the author of four poetry collections. His poems have been published in Wordcity Literary Journal, Pendemics Literary Journal, Poetry Life and Times, Trouvaille Review, Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic Initiative(Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University), International Human Rights Art Festival, Poetry and Covid: A Project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, University of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent University, Pandemic Magazine, The Poet, Valient Scribe, Strong Verse, Jerry Jazz Musician, VOICES ( Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Poets Against the War among many others

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Excerpts from Strokes of Solace Collected Poems by Sanjeev Sethi


In long-established fasteners
of familial zippers, 
my aloneness leaves me unfurled. 
We are so easily robbed 
when we give ourselves to others. 
Who will want to be a professional boxer 
if epistaxis is the only reward? 
When kindness is home, 
no-one eyes the egress.


Thuribles of trust coax me to be myself.
In the calm of auroral currents, I inhale 
without worry. In the noise of many 
truths, I choose my assailants.

One’s moral compass is as good as guilt 
permits it. Whetted by His workbook, 
outcomes are unwemmed, though our 
daemon is lame as our lapses.


I negate the truths they tell me 
about myself, 
a trick I learned early in
game of one-upmanship. 
Whigmaleeries twist on
the dance floor of inclinations, 
I plié myself out of them, 
an exercise practitioners 
of the deadpan imbibe.
The closeness of tanzanite beads 
crumble at the shrine of surmises.


Raked on coals 
by an unseen powerhouse
it seems I am always 
in a sedulous cauldron. 
Chefs of caliber 
add merit and material 
to create a masterpiece. 
When visitants drop by
I garnish the viands,
with poise 
and accept the praise.

Editor’s Note: A month before the release of Wrappings in Bespoke, Strokes of Solace(Strokes of Solace, CLASSIX, an imprint of Hawakal, New Delhi, July 2022) was published.

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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