Poetry from J.D. Nelson

 the window of the shampoo ice
 the kaiser roll of the sky is the law of the lake
 to eat a burger on the open norse day
 your old chewy ticket is the radio rock of the talon
 eating a hungry hippo with a marble in my mouth
 lending a measure to the crow
 the breaking clone of the door
 sleep is the rule of the great apple
 the sleeping hum is the cloud of the wall
 that walknut of the ironed face
 the street puppet of the moth
 the song of the lower limbs and the paint of the freezing face
 this idea is the paint of the globe
 this is the number of the roses and that is certain 
 to lake a lark
 to win a letter of the working duck
 the sinking fish
 the lizard of the jumble
 care for a chair (mcdonald’s coffee)
 in the cave of the parrots
 that coffee was in the shape of a rose
 answering my skull when I’m in the rainbow shoes
 the losing brick sauce
 the navel orange is the bat of the produce
 the household of mars
 that apple plank is the standard of the forest
 the bat’s head was like milk in the furnace
 the winter seed is the diamond of the cacao
 losing a worm to look for a wheel
 that normal eye in the chair
 the coin and that seventh myriad
 my sleeping head swims
 we are in the stomach of the goat’s raspberry
 the shadow rabbit is the coil of the present
 winning at the battleship game

bio/graf J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. His poetry has appeared in many small press publications, worldwide, since 2002. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). His first full-length collection, entitled In Ghostly Onehead, is slated for a 2021 release by mOnocle-Lash Anti-Press. His work has recently appeared in E·ratio, Otoliths, BlazeVOX, and Word For/Word. Visit www.MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado

Poetry from Dave Douglas

Division Street

This poem is for Autism Awareness month, which is in April each year.

Link to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network with more information.

Division Street

A street divides her thoughts from her lips,

I see my reflection in the puddle of her eyes;

Still innocent to the decorated world around her,

Averting the sunshine of the faces in her skies.

Her smile shines on her colorful creations,

Her imagination holds the key to wonderland,

She cradles the many characters with care —

So please, imagine holding me in your hand.

Hush my sweet baby, I’ll sing you a lullaby,

Dream, I dream of the day we sing your song;

Hush my sweet baby, I’ll sing you a lullaby,

Dream, dream of the day we sing your song.

Her sweet, sweet hum echoes into my heart

As exploration takes her from dolls to doors,

From goldfish to gates, from swings to the stars,

Taking big, big steps gazing up from the floor.

The street which divides narrows each day

As moments of connection draw us closer,

And the song of our voices begin to harmonize,

So one day, we will cross that street together!

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

The Portrait Gallery

by Jack Galmitz


I stumbled in

to the afterhours club

and there stood Herman


In his locker

Joe had a pinup

of Marilyn Chambers


Jerome met Betty

on the rollercoaster

she was retching


Mr. Smith was bald

his students thought

he was always


Mr. Levine

had a dog

then he died


Dunlop knew it

he told it to Humphries

now he’s dead

These poems are conceptual although they read quite straightforwardly. My idea was to show those who were writing poetry that decimated grammar, syntax, and meaning that poetic language was no different than ordinary language and that aporia or uncertainty of meaning could be achieved in the most plainspoken English. The lack of finality of meaning simply accompanied language as a matter of course. The poems, I find, are a bit funny and hopefully are read that way.

Poetry from Stephanie Johnson

Istanbul Expat Women

Hold a match up to a thread from your carpet, does it smell like burnt hair?

The days when I lived in Turkey seem tinged with sepia now

We remember the same stories with different friends in the leading roles.

Expats being bad in the heat of summer.

Daytime “ladies’ lunches” behind closed curtains

bottles of Georgian wine, hidden in cloth shopping bags

Neatly wrapped to hide the clinking

To protect us from the dedekodu

Inside the cement walls, behind closed curtains

We drank, laughed, cried, told the same stories

With our own voices

Our magic carpet rides didn’t always end well

But at our ladies’ lunches we gave each other tips

About how to fall off gracefully

And how to tell if your carpet was silk or synthetic

Windows closed, aircon on, we hid our voices from the neighbors

Until the stroke of five, when we had to start collecting empty plates,

Water glasses stained with burgundy,

Pack up our imported Tupperware and go back to our husbands,

Head to our shift at the language school,

Mask back in place, magic carpet fired up,

Always silk or wool, never polyester.

Have to keep up appearances.

Here, take a piece of gum before you go, you don’t want to stink

Of alcohol on the bus or in the taksi.

Now, years later, I can only look back at the photos

And wonder how you all are…

Stephanie Johnson’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications including Witty Partition, Sink Hollow, Forum Literary Magazine, and others. She is an Associate Editor at Novel Slices, a new literary magazine based solely on novel excerpts, and has spent most of her adult life overseas teaching English literature, ESL and Spanish. Her writing usually focuses on the slightly uncomfortable space of the expatriation/ repatriation experience. She is currently based in San Francisco. Find her on Instagram at @stephaniejohnsonpoetry and Twitter at @stephan64833622 

Poetry from Daniel Ezeokeke

dance of gods

A boy who smelled of fear and gore visited a grave of

mummified gods on the bay of the Nile in search for

 elixirs, doses of nostrums that could heal wounds of

sorrows and grief inflicted on his kind by ruins of war

and plagues

He had seen zygotes of dreams which formed in the

fertile womb of hope exhumed, served as victuals to

men who laugh and defecate bombs and missiles

on civilizations

He had watched as the python of healing on the aged

staff of Asclepius, the Greek god of health, got strangled

by an unnamed disease, he had also witnessed the

ruthless lynching of Eirene on the highest peak of the

pyramids, how her body was replaced by Medusa,

the magus of the east who turns forces of good and

great into stones

I heard him say quietly in his native language “i better find this”_

but after long hours of search, all he saw were craniums of

dead men throwing parties, some dreaming and hoping for a

time when splinters of their bones will metamorphose into

molecules of actualities.


On a voyage to world’s end, we met a boy in the northern

pyramids of the Sahara cloaked in greyish rag of dust and dearth

His wits were a breed of Socrates nous, an annex of Solomon’s

connoisseur, unveiling to us several conundrums which dated

back to medieval climes.

We watched him dissect rusted cadavers of enigma, exhuming

secrets behind downfalls of puissant kings, the slight trueness

in Delilah’s facade of love, the tint of folly in Ahitophel’s wit and

several mercies hidden in Hitler’s armageddon.

He was a prodigy, a dexter in his profession, illustrating with

grandiose gestures how sagacity was exorcised from craniums

of celibate ghosts martyred on stakes by a noxious disease during

the great plagues.

Lastly he awed us with a display of magic, he turned snores of a

voyager who had been bored by his lecture into notes, f-majors,

similar to the noise engines make after long hours of work.

Short bio

Daniel Ezeokeke is a writer who hails from the

ancient city of Anambra State, Nigeria.

He sees poetry as a means of escapism from

a society undergoing decay and degradation.

He is currently a graduate from a Nigerian

university and loves philosophy, Jewish writings

and history.

Poetry from John Robbins

Cocktails Served

Some find their way in to escape.

Others find solace in empty conversations and stale beers.

Most all of them have a reason and the best never needed one at all.

For me it’s a feel more than anything.

It is in the night itself.

For I am forever chasing what I can never regain.

A shared bit of mystery.

A simple release and nothing more.

A dark corner and a good laugh.

We gave up toys for vices and never truly grew up at all.

Maybe there is hope for tonight to be different from all the rest.

But at least the drinks are cold.

As the people that serve them.

Tip to all.

Don’t go blind looking into computer screens.

For purpose when a night’s escape is far more enticing.

I may go home alone.

But at least I gained a peace of mind, chasing something more than cyber bullshit and empty hours.

The dog walks itself and I never was intended for the leash.

The drinks are my escape because they fill a void, another never will.

They may come at a hell of a price.

News flash so do lawyers and divorces.

Keep that sunny side shit to yourself.

Nurse, refill please.

Poetry from Mahbub

Poet Mahbub, English instructor in Bangladesh


The matter that makes us laugh makes us cry

Crossing the Styx – one for all

Glints the new page

Feel like plastering the room

Seized by the riddles

Only glare at

We come and go

Leave behind we would never like to

This painful heart masters the art

How to adjust in the moonlit scented air of cestrum nocturnum. 

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh


A Big Blow on the Street

You broke my right hand today

A big blow with the stick

Mind it; it will reflect you one day

In the name of service

What is this torture?

Feel so proud of

What makes your belly?

You speak too much

Pretend to perform nicely

The vanity appears to

Master of all trades

How unflinching!

The man went away, saying.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh


A Beast of Burden

The load on the head is too heavy to carry on

Not fixed on time and place

A beast of burden

Every moment, day and night

My head and heart dismayed

Cracks the body

Feel the nerves hazy bouncing the ball to the batsman

Dims down the eye sight

In this dying despair

Groveling to you, my Savior

Though spring smiles on the leafs and flowers

The sacks loaded on in this encircled barrier

What a confusing fathomed world!

I live and die

O Merciful

Please drench us all in your blessed rainfalls.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh


Love in Paradox

The world is raging so fast

What does it sand for ‘dismal life ‘?

No escape of love

No escape of death

This love and death – a plus the sign test

Man howls and bowls to fit for

Man cries and prays to live in the world

Man dreams that turns into a nightmare

Counting the moment the unexpected time of death

Then what the Love stands for?

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh


The Drowsy World

The world is now drowsing

We all living far and near undergo this condition

Floating on the river of forgetfulness

In the moonlit night

Bored to stand on the deck all the time

Our journey has not reached the goal yet

Sometimes the sky is firing on the head

The scorching sun

Others meeting with the challenges

To get out of the nervousness

People are waiting silent

Some stretching their loving hands

Some grooving in the darkness

We look through the screens the dead bodies

Counting thousands or lakhs crossing limits of patience

The world is filled in the love line of the swans

We see and get asleep

Rise again with the breaking news of deaths

Always facing the challenge

To reach at least near the harbor a silent tiptoe

The world is now seriously drowsing.

Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh