Route Signs. Poems by Javier Gil Martin. Translated from Spanish by Amparo Arrospíde & Robin Ouzman Hislop


First Territory

      child eats crying
      child cries eating
      in animal concert

      Blanca Varela

Lips that you have not used to kiss
little feet you haven’t walked on yet
eyes which see just a foot from your face
hands you still don’t know are yours
crying, hunger and sleep
and some furtive smile
but now comes life
beautiful Guille,
and kisses will come and your steps
and your eyes will see to the end of the horizon
you will know your hands, and how to handle them
but don’t forget, my child,
that crying, hunger, sleep
were your first territory.
Primer Territorio

      niño come llorando
      llora comiendo niño
      en animal concierto

      Blanca Varela

Labios que no has usado para besar,
pequeños pies con los que no has caminado todavía,
ojos con los que ves a solo un palmo de tu rostro,
manos que aún no sabes que son tuyas;
apenas solo
llanto, y hambre, y sueño,
y alguna sonrisa furtiva;
pero ahora llega la vida,
hermoso Guille,
y los besos vendrán, y tus pasos,
y esos ojos verán al final del horizonte,
y sabrás de tus manos, y sabrás manejarlas,
pero no olvides, mi niño,
que llanto, hambre y sueño
fueron tu primer territorio.
[Scars will come, my son…]
Scars will come, my son
and they will mark your body
but do not let them scare you because they will be 
your private dialogue with the world
a way to know you are alive 
full of past and full of present.
[Sobrevendrán cicatrices, hijo…]
Sobrevendrán cicatrices, hijo,  
y marcarán tu cuerpo,   
pero que no te asusten pues serán   
tu diálogo privado con el mundo,  
una forma de saberte vivo   
colmado de pasado y de presente.
[The many things you discover every day…]
The many things you discover every day. 
How to lean out with your clean eyes 
to this world full of sorrows, 
how to lean out and not soil everything 
with prejudices, fixations and miseries,
how will we do it without you telling us 
which path to take, which way, 
without us telling you
“This way yes, this way no, eat slowly, 
try not to stain your vest,
shut the door, brush your teeth…”. 
[Cuántas cosas descubres cada día…] 
Cuántas cosas descubres cada día. 
Cómo asomarnos con tus ojos limpios 
a este mundo cargado de pesares, 
cómo asomarse y no ensuciarlo todo 
de prejuicios, esquemas y miserias, 
cómo lo haremos sin que tú nos digas 
qué vereda tomar, por qué camino, 
y no nosotros los que te digamos: 
“Por aquí sí, por aquí no, come despacio, 
intenta no ensuciar tu camiseta, 
cierra la puerta, lávate los dientes…”. 
Not before
Wake up when
the light lets you
look at your toys
No antes
Despierta cuando
la luz ya te permita
ver tus juguetes.
[In addition to paying our pensions…]
In addition to paying our pensions,
it is expected of you, children,
(at least by poets)
a word that illuminates the world.
Like innocent little prophets
you sleep peacefully
you don’t know yet
our secret assignment.
[Además de pagar nuestras pensiones…]
Además de pagar nuestras pensiones,
de vosotros se espera, hijos,
(al menos los poetas),
una palabra que ilumine el mundo.
Como pequeños profetas inocentes,
dormís tranquilos,
no conocéis aún
nuestra secreta encomienda.
[How I wish my errors were of value to you…]
How I wish my errors were of value to you
a sort of hereditary apprenticeship
—I´ve a whole string of these to give you—
but only your own errors
with their taste of blood between the lips
will be of some use to you, if at all;
most will be
irreparable and useless, like
a toy forgotten in an attic.
[Ojalá mis errores os valieran…]
Ojalá mis errores os valieran
como un aprendizaje hereditario
—de eso tengo una ristra para daros—,
pero solo vuestros errores,
con su sabor a sangre entre los labios,
os servirán de algo, si es que os sirven;
la mayoría serán
irreparables e inútiles como
un juguete olvidado en un desván.

Javier Gil Martin (Madrid, 1981). With a degree in Spanish Philology from the UAM, he is professionally dedicated to subtitling and literary proofreading and passionately to reading and editing, mainly poetry. He has coordinated, together with good friends, several literary collections. In 2020 he founded the publishing project “Cartonera del escorpión azul” and since 2006 he coordinates the “Versos para el adiós” section of Adiós Cultural magazine. As an author, he has published Poemas de la bancarrota (Ediciones del 4 de agosto, Logroño, 2015), Poemas de la bancarrota y otros poemas (Espacio Hudson, Argentina, 2018), Museo de la intemperie (Ejemplar Único, Alzira, 2020) y Museo de la intemperie [II] (Cartonera Island, Tenerife, 2022). His “Route Signs” is a section of the latter.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Spice Rack, Sisters & Festive Messaging Pivot, Poems by Anna Eusthacia Donovan

Spice Rack
Late nights a festival vendor
dictates his gospel
at my spice rack,
tent preacher pacing
in perfect pitch.
He makes a list,
recites it under his breath:
whorled Sage branch tiered
in tulle fluffy skirts,
balmy light cloudy vanilla,
cinammon the color
of summer’s skin,
smoky paprika curves
in roof tiles in tropical sun,
rough and tumble red pepper flakes
heat and rumble of fast cars
and slow hands,
the rough cumin sash on ranch hands
over campfires.
He pauses and pulls a snake
barely wiggling
from a badger skin bag,
a petroglyph stick at the top,
throws it in boiling water
and we watch the unraveling,
the releasing of substance,
then skims the surface
and mixes the miracle.
The snake gives up her secrets
and he bottles them
with my crushed spices,
labels it in beard bone font:
“For the cure of all pain.”
In a minimal city
well versed in matters
of rumors and gossip
sisters carry fruit baskets
on their heads,
light on their feet,
limber on their hips.
Prairie wildflowers
lean on the slant
to the rise and fall
of blue mountain ridges
capped with the earth’s birth caul.
Uneasy roosting
on the rituals
of the holy,
the innermost hidden
behind half closed
almond shaped eyes.
In unison they read the signs
in a persimmon’s innards,
reveal the heart
of winter,
harsh or mild,
sisters know.
A sister whispers,
“Gather persimmons at dawn
when the tree lets go
of its first ripened fruits
to the awaiting ground.”
“Saigon cinammon,
sweet depth of nutmeg,”
mumble the sisters.
The sacred hidden
in the crumbling language
of ancient recipes
tied with honeyed strings
and mourning doves
heavy with sadness,
touched by a neatly sliced
sort of love
tender persimmon pudding
to devour as the gods.
Festive Messaging Pivot
I am the bright setting sun
and a thousand wings to fly.
Stars dip by me in quick salute,
march in flares and glow around the world.
My spirit quickens in a child’s hand,
I am flight, speed, and strawberry hearts.
I am love, a Valentine, a rose,
skipping with high knees
in vast fields outside the lines.
I am red, a melted planet
forgotten on the dashboard
in summer’s technicolor,
a festive messaging pivot,
apples on the paradise tree,
early Christmas morning
Kool Aid pitcher cherry smile.
I am Red, Red Crayon.

Anna Eusthacia Donovan is originally from Nicaragua, Central America. She is a psychologist and educator dedicated to university students’ success in visual arts and design. She has published in Ponder Savant, The Quiver Review, Melbourne Culture Corner, The Dillydoun Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Litterateur Rw, The Raven Review, Impspired, Global Poetry, Spillwords, Mad Swirl, and Open Skies Quarterly volume 3. She wants to “start where language ends.”
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

The Velut Luna Poems by Jessica Skyfield

Particles accelerate

Never losing mass.

Never losing energy.

Cold fusion brilliance,

created in a fog of clarity.

Energy illuminated.


Pounds of stardust

traded for an ounce of perspective.

We all love amusement parks.

Dizzy and delirious,

parked permanently on the ride.
Dust to dust
We’re made of stars

disparate and dissonant.

Day by day

doubt festers,

fenestrations of fear.

And we damn deities,

dredge demons.

Cosmological chaos.

Inherent ideological clashes

birthed from cultural constructs.

Idiomatic onslaught,

shaped by societal mores,

moored by millennia.

Nihil sumus.
Velut luna
Spin the wheel

Velut luna

Fortune favors the bold

Tried and true, trite and true.

Therein lies the rub.

Squeezing our infinitesimal selves into the lens

of a long-forgotten dream.

All roads lead you home.

That’s as unconditional as it gets.
Sometimes I forget to breathe.

Creating a vacuum seal of self.

Presenting that self to the world: an unwilling taciturn tacticality.

The perceived enormity of our individual selves

Lost to the ether.

Lacking time.

Creating space.

Relativistic Infinity
Effusive energy

Silent fusion

Dominos without end

A self-made loop

A louped glance,


Golly gee. Great.

Gutted by greed,

Gouge our evil eyes,

And hollow hearts.

Our irrational ears.

As we fester in finite fallacy.
where to start?

where to begin?

“We need an outline.”

Oh? Oh.

Of my life. Of the complication.

The words swirl in a torrential hurricane inside.

How to order chaos?

“Of course.”

It’s only a matter of course.

is currently a teacher. She has been a scientist, a mother, will always be a student, and worn other hats, too. Her poems seek to bring light to our struggle with our awareness of our humanity: the juxtaposition of the smallness of ourselves when viewed universally and yet the huge impact of each of our actions, as well as the infinitely compounding fact that our individual perception is (our, only known) reality.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Holy Dementia Poems by Nolcha Fox

Higher Education

The mathematician
is training to work
at McDonalds.
Today he is learning
how to make ice cubed.

Holy Dementia
a response to Mary Ruefle, “On Twilight”

As he wanders
through his creation,
I wonder if God
picks me up
from another fall
and says,
“I made this?”


Nolcha has written all her life, starting with poop and crayons on the walls. Her poems have been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Red Lemon Review, Dark Entries, Duck Head Journal, Medusa’s Kitchen and others. Her chapbook, “My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats,” is available on Amazon.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Tattoos and Unwelcome Guest. 2 Poems by Christiana Sasa



She was a witch
burnt alive
only to raise
from the ashes
to start playing
again with fire

She was a nymph
mud thrown at her
face in disgust
She reshaped her
cloudy dreams
out of that thick mud

She is the woman
next door
beaten blue
thick makeup
barely covering up
fossils of last night

She is the man
in the gym
stuffing pain
mixed with pride
down his throat
numb with power

She is the child
with vacant eyes
mute questions
monsters eating
fairies at night
sand castles smashed

She is you
and them
scratching tattoos
trapped between blind walls
of our own Auschwitz


unwelcome guest

she meets this man
in her city

an unwelcome guest

a few days left
before he leaves again
for another city
or a tempest-tossed shore

smoke-stained lips
long-forgotten dreams
walk like shadows
in quickly-smudged tears
worn-out coast
piercing out of jaws
jewels of freedom
or hidden somewhere in
unwashed hair

words exchanged
sighs shared
two pairs of eyelashes
greeting each other

a butchered sun
trapped between barbed wires

Bio: Christiana Sasa has been writing poetry for a little more than four years. Her work has been published in the literary magazines Poetry Life and Times, Literary Heist, Eskimo Pie, Rye Whiskey Review etc.
Besides poetry, she is interested in painting and music.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Body Artiste & Studio Vogue 1970. Poems by Sterling Warner

Body Artiste 

Brandy called herself an empty easel
ready to strip down naked and take on
primary colors, a blank canvass eager
to display artistic genius & mutable
good taste as her flesh took on hues
any rainbow might envy & satisfied
a young boy’s locker room fantasy.

Daybreak till twilight, artists illustrated 
Brandy’s skin; she posed for photos, 
sent them into cyberspace & reveled 
in notoriety that left her wanting, longing
for lustrous fulfillment as someone’s 
magnum opus, satisfaction in spirit
only complete when stroked by a brush.


Studio Vogue 1970

Vinyl record albums stacked facedown 
	like semi-glossy square decks of cards
feebly served as trendy apartment bookends 
	supporting a motley assortment 
of leather bound & paperback texts.

A discarded telephone wire spool, my 
	hip coffee table, that looked like 
a Brobdingnag sewing bobbin, showcased 
	artbooks ranging from Frida Kahlo’s symbolism 
& Michelangelo’s sculptures to Dali’s surrealism. 
Lovers and I watched our youthful bodies
	roll with an undulating waterbed tide
through a full-length plastic mirror 
	nailed like a crucifix above us 
before we sank to the liquid mattress’s center.
Days and nights we once seemed to own 
	fell victim to infrequency’s impact 
on intimate moments: the paucity 
	of cheap thrills, my dated studio décor, 


An award-winning author, poet, and educator, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in literary magazines, journals, and anthologies including Danse Macabre, Poetry Life and Times, Shot Glass Journal, Ekphrastic Review, and Sparks of Calliope. Warner’s collections of poetry include Rags and Feathers, Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Edges, Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux, Serpent’s Tooth, and Flytraps (2022)—as well as Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories. Currently, Warner writes, participates in “virtual” poetry readings, and enjoys retirement in Washington. by Sterling Warner
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Liberty in Ashes excerpt Poems from Double Envelope Collected Poems by Gary Beck

A semblance of normality
pervades the land,
even for the disadvantaged
struggling as usual
to make ends meet,
feed, shelter, clothe
their needy children,
who will never understand
why they can’t have
the same things
as everyone else.
Similar or …
New Year’s Eve 1968,
a terrible year for Vietnamese,
while only some Americans
lost loved ones,
as the nation consumed
vast amounts of treasure
that the oligarchs believed
would be wasted on the people.
Despite growing inequality
most of us didn’t notice,
unless our sons were killed
in distant jungles.
We still didn’t realize
that the lords of profit
were abandoning our factories,
eliminating blue collar workers,
the last group to defy the bosses.
Yet I seem to remember
it was a good year for Haut Brion.
New Year’s Eve 2018,
the revelers no longer hulk
in one congested mass
jammed crammed together,
thousands drunk, stoned,
muggers, pickpockets, hoodlums
visiting their neighbors,
who still had a great time.
Now people stand
in isolated groups,
regimented in the Age of Terror.
But despite the lack of drink, drugs,
they still have a good time.
High Crime II
The prison industry,
the most unproductive industry
in this ailing nation
currently incarcerates
more then a million men,
a lot of women,
more then the population
of some small countries.
The system employs
guards, cooks, teachers,
psychologists, doctors,
the list goes on,
all to maintain
adjudicated criminals,
innocent or guilty,
custodians or confined
another pustulant body
in diseased America.
Liberty in Ashes
So many want to be president.
So few know that it should be
the protector of the people,
guarding them from oppression.
Instead, these wannabe servants
eager for indenture
to the capitalist masters
who have established control
of the future of America
having successfully removed
the stout-hearted blue collar class,
the only group determined enough
to resist the blatant tyranny
of voracious oligarchs,
refusing to give a fair share
to the people who toil for them
while they consume the fruits of the earth.
Growth Spurt
The march of civilization
has improved life for many,
who live longer, healthier,
with luxuries unimagined
a few hundred years ago.
As we evolved
from family, to clan, to tribe,
then made the great leap
to nation states
we devoured the resources
of a bountiful earth,
until we are poised
to destroy the world
in extravagant consumption.

‘Double Envelopment’ is an unpublished poetry collection in response to harsh conditions affecting many of our people, who only want a better future for their children.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director and worked as an art dealer when he couldn’t earn a living in the theater. He has also been a tennis pro, a ditch digger and a salvage diver. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and his published books include poetry collections, 14 novels, 3 short story collections, 1 collection of essays and 5 books of plays. Published poetry books include: Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings, The Remission of Order, Contusions, Desperate Seeker and Learning Curve (Winter Goose Publishing). Earth Links, Too Harsh For Pastels, Severance, Redemption Value, Fractional Disorder, Disruptions, Ignition Point, Resonance and Turbulence (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Double Envelopment). Motifs (Adelaide Books). His novels include Extreme Change (Winter Goose Publishing). State of Rage, Wavelength, Protective Agency, Obsess, Flawed Connections and Still Obsessed (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Call to Valor). His short story collections include: A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing). Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Essays of Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing). The Big Match and other one act plays (Wordcatcher Publishing). Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume 1 and Plays of Aristophanes translated, then directed by Gary Beck, Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume II and Four Plays by Moliere translated then directed by Gary Beck (Cyberwit Publishing. Forthcoming: Collected Plays of Gary Beck Volume III). Gary lives in New York City.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

The would-be sculptor of muses. A Poem by Fabrice B. Poussin


Ether comes to be in the bright light
it makes auras like so many living hosts
to chase the others as if to mate.
In awe of the unknown phenomenon
the maker of miracles seeks a solution
to make a wonder from such soft chaos.
A silent symphony emerges in a waltz
particles of a curious matter embrace
swirling in a gentle cyclone.
Pondering the unexpected spectacle
magician in his dreams he is still
waiting for the only moment in time.
Perhaps then he will be the great master
holder of the secret he has been seeking
when at last the creation becomes his muse.

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines including Poetry Life and Times at, where he is also interiewed by its Editor DM Jackson. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. Most recent collection “In Absentia,” was published in August 2021 with Silver Bow Publishing.
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at ; You may visit Robin Ouzman Hislop about author &
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)