St.Francis. A Poem by Peter Mladinic

St. Francis

Katie Zwerling, leave everything behind
and come with me to St. Francis,
a little town way up in Maine, way up
there, way out there. When people say
out in the middle of nowhere they mean
this place, surrounded by logging roads

cleared a hundred years ago so trucks
could haul logs to populated places.
You’ve seen roads surrounded by trees.
These roads are really surrounded by trees!
You drive on, it’s a bit scary. Nothing’s
around these winding dirt roads but trees

and this town, where we could settle
in a house with heat, air conditioning. 
Would the house have central air?  Maybe.
But it would have electricity, plumbing,
and we’d be close to the logging roads,
get to know them so we wouldn’t get stuck

or lost. People want to be near the ocean,
or a lake or a golf course. I’d take these
logging roads any day over a golf course
or a mall, roads with trees around, pines,
evergreens, no vehicles, except us in ours,
my jeep with a GPS, so as not to get lost.

So much snow in winter, a snowmobile
would be needed.  I could buy one!
Snowsuits to keep us warm. Go out 
on those roads, not too far, and come back
to our house in St. Francis. Both of us
stripped naked I could kiss you all over.

We could make love, then go to a local cafe,
come home, watch Reign on Netflix.
St. Francis has WiFi. We could call people
on our cell phones. When logging roads
were made, did they had telephones way up 
there?  It’s way, way different from here. 


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.
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)

Drunk I am today. A Poem by -Bhuwan Thapaliya

Drunk I am today,

O’ you little tender world.

With the book of life open before me,

thwarted, blank, I sit here before you all.

Immersed in myself, I am in the Tundikhel,

floating between medieval and modern times.

A peanut seller came with a basket of peanuts

and sat beside me.  He gave me, a handful of peanuts

in a colorful piece of paper.  I tossed the peanuts

into the air, and started reading  the paper instead.

The peanut seller smiled and waved me goodbye,

saying, “You are drunk, very drunk today, my friend!

“In remote western Nepal,

people heard the Beatles

on battery-powered tape decks

before they saw electric lights,

and helicopters fluttered

 into their lives

 long before the first trucks got there,”

these sentences rose from their slumber

 and stirred my heart.

“The first airplane landed in Nepal in 1949

but it was seven years later before

the first highway connected Kathmandu

 to the outside world.

Within a year of that first landing,

the Rana autocracy was overthrown

with the aid of an airplane.”

These sentences came out

from the paper, and grappled my throat.

I stood up

but the gravity

of the revelation pulled me down.

I was now drunk, dead drunk

with a million pegs worth of thoughts.

I sat on the grass for a while,

thinking about old Nepal

and my grandfather’s life then.

Then I shifted my thoughts

over to the New Nepal

we claim to be building now.

Where are the roots of the new Nepal

we claim to be building?

Where are the roots?

With a million thoughts

in my head,

I headed to my home

dusting the bare bodies

of the erotic sculptures

on the multi-tiered pagodas

of  hope.

Yes, drunk I am today.

Today I am drunk.

With the book of life open before me,

thwarted, blank, I sit here before you all. 



Nepalese poet, Bhuwan Thapaliya works as an economist, and is the author of four poetry collections and currently he is working on his fresh poetry collection, The Marching Millions. Thapaliya’s books include, Safa Tempo: Poems New and Selected (Nirala Publication, New Delhi), Our Nepal, Our Pride , Verses from the Himalayas and Rhythm of the Heart. ( by Thapaliya has been included in The New Pleiades Anthology of Poetry, The Strand Book of International Poets 2010, and Tonight: An Anthology of World Love Poetry, as well as in literary journals such as Urhalpool, MahMag, Kritya, FOLLY, The Vallance Review, Nuvein Magazine, Foundling Review, Poetry Life and Times, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, Taj Mahal Review, VOICES (Education Project), Longfellow Literary Project, Countercurrents etc. Author: Safa Tempo: Poems New & Selected & Our Nepal, Our Pride
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)

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


        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.


    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) & Museo de la intemperie [II] (Cartonera Island, Tenerife, 2022). His “Route Signs” is a section of the latter.

Amparo Arróspide (born in Buenos Aires) is an M.Phil. by the University of Salford. As well as poems, short stories and articles on literature and films in anthologies and international magazines, she has published five poetry collections: Presencia en el Misterio, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar and En el oído del viento. The latter is part of a trilogy together with Jacuzzi and Hormigas en diaspora, which are in the course of being published. In 2010 she acted as a co-editor of webzine Poetry Life Times, where many of her translations of Spanish poems have appeared, she has translated authors such as Margaret Atwood, Stevie Smith and James Stephens into Spanish, and others such as Guadalupe Grande, Ángel Minaya, Francisca Aguirre, Carmen Crespo, Javier Díaz Gil into English. She takes part in poetry festivals, recently Centro de Poesía José Hierro (Getafe).
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo 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)

To Purusha, The Little Homunculus in My Hand/Heart. A Poem by Kalpita Pathak

To Purusha, The Little Homunculus in My Hand/Heart

My left hand is the holder. Mascara
tube, apple on the cutting
board, paper while my right
hand writes. 
            A buttress. 	
                       Not strong

but not weak, either. My left hand holds
a palmful of peace. The velvet 
pouch of small rocks      
by ancient waters, rubbed 

between thumb 
and forefinger.        Aaaaah. 
Or the bottle of pills to unclench
my gut. Lines overlay

veins overlay muscles 
overlay bones. A palmful 
of bones, held out
in supplication, in valor, in terrible

loneliness, delicate 
and powerful as the pale 
wing of a dove seeking 
a place to finally rest.

Kalpita Pathak is an autistic poet, novelist, and advocate with a passion for research and sensory-rich details. Her work tends to explore the perseverance of hope in a sometimes despairing world, with a little dark humor and magic added to the mix. She received the James Michener Fellowship for her MFA in creative writing and has taught at both the college level and in school programs for kids from three to eighteen. She has recently been published in Mediterranean Poetry.  


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.

The Velut Luna poems


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.

Jessica Skyfield 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 large impact each of our individual actions can have.  


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)

What Did They Do Before Social Media, Daddy? Sara L Russell, 17th August 2022 at 01:52

Did we ever really exist 
before this time, 
this place and space
this desire to frame everything 
in doorway-shaped pictures
then rush to seek approval on networks
of social acceptance
please like me
please like me
please like me…

Was my face really there
before mirrors made it appear,
to make it be so?
Are there mirrors in Hell?

Was beauty really there
before PhotoShop
lent it that airbrushed glow?
How can we ever tell?

Was the ego 
really a thing
before Zoom gave it 
a platform to shout from
(while discreetly putting others 
on mute)?

How did apps ever survive
without notification
to bring motivation?

Look, now her hair is pink
and he has inked his arm
they have millions of shares…

but your cat can sing and dance
with elegance and charm
and yet, nobody cares. 

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


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)