Poetry from Randall Rogers

Taxi Driver

Best thing about
not making it as
a writer
is you can write in peace,
read too,

live happy, free,
suffering from the effects
of status


chiseled on the mountain
LSD trips
in stone
hope, freedom,
the American way
of love
Christian values
in travail,
growth, organization,
and war
at night
in the moonlight

Among the Inhabitants of the Ant-farm

I would be
wondering if there were
no God
the idea to create one
might be overwhelming. 


Sharp incisors
naked tail
eyeball chewing
of plague.

Fifth installment of Z.I. Mahmud’s thesis on David Copperfield and Victorian society

Discussion On the Plot, synopsis and setting of the novelist Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations 

Fundamentally, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations immortalizes satirizing constitutional democracy, parliamentary reforms bill, labour rights’ and prison amendments through reformation of genteel characters as gentleman. Marginalization and exclusion both extend suffrage of these fictional characters; they accomplish the triumph of success and prosperity of Dickensian doubles or juxtaposition with regard to indigenous or hybridized gender, caste and ethnicity. The publication of “The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin” theorized or reinforced Dickensian novel Great Expectations compelled characterization undergoing cataclysmic degeneration or progressive evolution.

“Through all my punishments, disgraces, fasts and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nursed this assurances.” These lines expostulate the infernal despotism of injustice and tormenting tyranny, grieved by the biographer or the protagonist.  Firstly, churchyards symbolize deathly gallows or gruesome grimace and secondly, prisons symbolize the exploited or persecuted power. Sepulchral graveyard with tombstones and the dramatic encounter with the prisonship or hulk escaped convict memorializes Charles Dickens’ juvenile infancy –the symbolic immaturity. Through freemasonry sympathy or affectionate tenderheartedness, the narrator embodies Abel Magwitch as the marginalized or underprivileged distinction.

Intellectual liberty or freedom of education enables readers to interpret that this aspect Miss Havisham abandons ever since jilted by her fiancé Compeyson twenty minutes past nine.  “She an’t over partial to having scholars on the premises […] and in partickler, would not be over partial to my being a scholar, for fear as I might rise. Like a sort of rebel, don’t you see?” The narrator doesn’t want to be governed by institutionalized authority that penalizes the rural village folk community. These majority of oppressed from injustice and victims of presentment becomes marginalized as minority by administrative power, aspects of wealth or finance-the symbolic evil menace. Dickens references to “savage young gentleman contrasts ”“wild beasts” symbolic of modest aggressiveness and profound explosiveness respectively. Abel Magwitch’s Gentleman Compeyson, the sham involvement in feud reflect Dickensian demonic that needs to be polished. This misty marshes or moors scene foreshadowing contrasts with the feud of Satis House, Pip challenged to duel with Herbert Pocket, “the pale young gentleman” ere in the novel.

Moreover, Dickens’ Great Expectations turning point plot twists renders to the advancement of society from the threshold terminal of the sub-urbs to the absolute cosmopolitanism. The narrator or biographer’s migration embodies aquaintanceship with Mr. Jaggers, the lawyer. Beknownst of the stranger’s eccentricity Mr. Jaggers. “smell strongly of soap” body fragrance and the incessant “washing of hands” memorialized by the incidental wedding feast of Miss Havisham’s party. Dickens allegorizes British imperialism, English the parliament and justice system through the obsessive washing of hands as a psychological mechanism to persecute criminals from corrupting or impure him- this symbolize despotism in shrewd criticism. He consorts with vicious criminals and even these ruffians are terrified of him. Although a criminal lawyer-ironically symbolic impenetrable exterior [Mr Jaggers can be characterized as pragmatic, dark, professional and arrogant] Mr. Jaggers was bestowed with the sponsorship or patronage to be Pip’s counselor and guardian. Benediction of wealth and fortunes intrigued Mr. Jaggers to solicit family Havishams’ or Magwitch’s lawsuits of legacy.

“Jaggers has an air of authority not to be disputed” and “a manner expressive of knowing something secret about every one of us that would eventually do for each individual if he chose to disclose it.”  Wemmick’s remark further elicits disposition of Mr. Jaggers when he says, “as deep … as Australia.” Mysterious Molly, the wretched savage caregiving or civilizing was happening by and by. Subtlety of detrimental knowledge pertaining to the appraised Molly’s persisting  existence. The hero’s Great Expectations should be fulfilled by solicitation and purchase of shoes and suits embody the perpetual condescension as a gentleman-symbolic of cultural assimilation to consumerist London.  “Through good and evil I stuck to my books.” and “I had a taste for reading, and read regularly so many hours a day.” Education of Victorian England and passion of learning exemplifies the Dickensian spirits of Shakespeare’s reading. The narrator subconscious acquiesced privileges of attending the tutorship of Herbert Pocket. Even Magwitch dreamed of being a gentleman despite being a fierce rebel; nonetheless, he wanted to embellishing prospect to mould Pip as a young gentleman. Moral regeneration lacks in the apprenticeship of Orlick [“He should never be thinking”] or education of Drummle [“half a dozen heads thicker than most gentlemen”] respectively.    

Poetry from Jack Galmitz

where out of black
by a small stretch of sand
the moon grasps
the breakers unawares
I feel like I've gone back
to the beginning
when I sat with a pail
and packed it with sand
since then what passed
rolling in the radiant grass
touched by moonlight
and hand and a breast
heaved towards the low tide rocks
by the bridge span
how right Euripides was
in that
I lean on a cane
who wanted to crawl back
to the beginning
and do it again

a man lived here
until his wife died
his children left
and all he had left
were television shows
of comedies and commercials
(he had seen the massive
wings of fascism spread
and briefly landed)
he had worked, had lived
had suffered and grew
old like the rest
and when there wasn't
anyone to talk to
he resolved to go
I saw him leave
without a wave
except he bowed
unto the trees
and the birds

and the rain


the light is what
you're reading
and where it is
not is also there
in its places
at night a stag
moves between
trees silent
as the shadows
the trees have surrendered
the hunter moves down stream

and safe is wanted

Poetry from Ian C. Smith

Blood Stirring Under Scars

Although memory’s boat has drifted far downstream now I remember a movie directed by Resnais about troubled memory, others adapted from plays by William Inge, Paddy Chayefsky, characters living in boarding houses, but alone, clocks ticking, repressed sexual energy, longing; Cheever’s stories, sadness of the human heart, days draining into the gulf of middle age.  I also strain to remember staying near a train station, some storm of my own, some calm, leaving almost-love, airy dreams, behind.

A publican’s spoiled daughter with a taste for carnal excitement who resembled a Toulouse-Lautrec model, liked Elvis Presley, averted her head to exhale smoke, showcasing curls on her nape, hair in a top-knot.  Tracing her after so long, I ambushed logic with foolish assumptions, a wrong address.  You could blame addiction to quietly dramatic tales, wanting two goes at life.

A postal employee in the Dead Letter Office, perhaps a TV soapie fan with an old-fashioned attitude to service enthused by possibilities of solving problems of the aforementioned human heart, placed a newspaper ad that tinkled a tiny bell of memory in a reader’s mind.

I hitch-hiked thousands of miles across foreign soil through the Yukon to Alaska without losing my nerve, yet now, feeling the heft of years, sleeping too much, welcome her answering service, relief a brief respite from angst, my message putting off expectations, but too late to turn back.  Coward, coward, I think knowing not how many blurred, bestilled evenings I have left.

Train arrivals once shook our floor like great wind gusts as we sought each other’s heat.  I again trawl over early chapters, their residuum, questions needing detailed answers.  My agitated phone’s signal engulfs me, trapping a small bird in my chest.  Those trains emerging from the blackest tunnel, those dilapidated days, surge back.  


No Mercy

A thirteen year-old boy wearing a school jumper and gauzy bravado he shall always remember strides towards a beach several miles from his poor family home south of Melbourne, cold, trembling from his latest thrashing.  The gravel road lies quiet but for a lone car driven by a novelist who never stops to offer a ride.

When my father died my mother gave me his wallet, his belt.  He left no memory of kind words.  She knew this.  She remembered.  Inside the wallet, hidden, I found money, too much for the old-age pension, not part of a memento.

The novelist’s family, with their own light aircraft and airstrip, lives beyond the boy’s, all English emigres settling a domain of kookaburras and copperheads.  He has finished writing a book about the fraught end of our beloved world, a world I wanted to experience before it ended, later to be filmed, partly in this area where the posher properties swoon, immaculate, with white horse fences gleaming below a pale moon and its jewels.

Through the long personal twilight I thought about my father’s life, and death, which he feared right until the end.  I thought I heard a man weeping when a bird, seeing only freedom in my window, stunned itself, lay panting on my veranda near a birds-nest fern in a tub before travelling on, a wingbeat ahead of silent cats and certain death.

The car’s sound faded, the boy’s contempt for that novelist, for most adults, parents, teachers, cops, dissolved into shadows at a paddock’s edge, a stray dog passes him, then turns to follow ten yards behind, gait faithful to his, seeking adoption, the boy’s mind running amok through a dreamlike future, that unknown pinprick of starlight we each grope towards.

I fell to thinking about how I found a kind of love, relegated the past, discovered the remainder of my days.  When I returned the banknotes, everything except a cropped photograph of my sister long ago, and small change, my mother’s face stamped her guilty of attempted bribery.  And heartache.

The boy has a pound for each year he has lived, earned, stolen, stashed, his pouch of tobacco, a rage for freedom, for cities’ giddy adventure, thinks he could hitchhike 500 miles to Sydney: in imagination’s kingdom a truck-stop, a jukebox, songs of lonely far-off times.  



Those days furnished no mementos, only hard memories about dreaming of freedom.  Locked up in an historic gaol built in an era of self-satisfaction, of statues, outdated then, townhouses now, we spotted hardened lags wasting precious days in the much larger adult section.  Like them, most of us boys were heading for damnation.  Protocol savage, recent tattoos serving me well, we hearkened back in that pandemonium to times when we were boys as if our collective childhood happened in the distant past.

An infamous murderer, a DJ on the outside, ran our in-(the big) house radio station.  I listened wrapped in a cloak of provisional safety holding a flat earpiece connected to a wire, alone at last, dreaming of freedom, endurance of solitude the best time for me but apparently not for many of the other young offenders between 4p.m. and 7a.m. when we emptied our waste in the cold light, avoiding splash, fetid stench swirling in the air, our reek the only vestige of us in that stink hole free to float away.

Old magazines circulated.  Most boys didn’t care to read, or couldn’t, although they liked the pictures.  Glossy photos of food outraged my hunger for a meal better than degrading.  Swimsuit models caught my eye, my breath.  I devoured word knowledge tests dreaming of freedom using a pencil stub kept in my tobacco, often guessing the opposite to correct answers of multiple-choice questions, otherwise doing OK.  I instinctively mentally corrected spelling mistakes reading the despair, defamation, humour, and of course, rage, in graffiti etched and inked over years into my walls, but I lacked answers.  Still do from time to time, faded tattoos become motifs these remedial years on.

Two boys who hit an elderly newsagent harder than intended when robbing him received crushing sentences, unlike mine.  The younger one, who acted tougher in the yard, was overheard sobbing nocturnally in that silenced madhouse of rage sorrowing for a lost dream of freedom, or the dead man.  Who knows?  I can’t find them on Google, but traced another, a loud, ignorant boy from those drear days, dead now, described as a habitual petty criminal all his life.

There was a girl whose letters had finally caught up with me.  She worked in the city.  On my release, unmet, resolute after a careful countdown, a thing I still do, the raw cry of a tram rattling towards the bright city surged my young blood.


Ian C Smith, P.O. Box 9262, Sale, Australia, 3850.  <icsmithpoet@gmail.com>

Poetry from J.K. Durick

Out There

It’s out there
We must drive in it
Walk in it
It’s out there
It’s too much with us
Getting and spending
We get it
Understand what we
Have done
Wasted our powers
Given our hearts away
Lost the tune
Forgot the words
The weather changes
Sealed in the politics
Of now
Of what we did
What we are doing
It’s out there
That’s all
Just out there
The earth of it
The air of it
The water
Collecting the evidence
Details it will use
Against us
It’s all out there.


This hot breeze holds the afternoon
summarizes it in a brief moment
says so much about what we have
these days – too much sun, heat,
a few clouds that give into the days
spinning by, so little rain. This is
the climate change they promised us
warned us about, while we were too
busy with other things, things that
seem trivial now in the nineties, in
this heat wave, in this drought. We
air-condition what we can, we sit
in any shade we find, fill plastic pools
for the dogs, joke about running
through the sprinkler like we did as
children, a game we no longer can
play. The news we hear and watch
doesn’t bother mentioning this any-
more, as if the scientists have given
up on us, realize playing Cassandra
didn’t help, doesn’t help and like us
feel this hot breeze, that summarizes
what’s left of our afternoon, this brief
moment that says so much about what
we have done.


We used to say, farmers need the rain
whether We knew they did or not,
but now We all need the rain
like today it rained all day
not just our lawns and lakes
but our spirits too
need the rain
bogged down the way We have been
in a spiritual,
a psychic drought
tired, dry days, one after another
till today
We all needed the rain
and it came down
all morning, all afternoon, this evening
beyond trying to satisfy our lawns and
our lakes, the sound of the rain 
the ticking at times at our windows
the whoosh in the wind
and the calming hush of it 
bring a peace along with it
a whole day of this peaceful sound
of rain
We should all now say we need the rain.

Essay from Ike Boat

Tan, green and brown splotchy logo for Wide Reading Among Kids
Jingle for Wide Reading Among Kids

Wide Reading Among Kids – WRAK Donation Promo-Script.

A child can read.
A child can dream big by reading one book.
A child be it from a rich home or a poor home has the same potential to dare to dream.
The easiest way for our beautiful pearls to escape this world into a world of possibilities is for them seeing themselves in stories.
Stories told by locals and in African settings.
Wide Reading Among Kids – WRAK campaign needs you to put a seraphic smile on our little one’s face.

Make your contribution in a form of donation as low as 1 Cedi daily and in one year you’ve blessed a community.
Kindly, send your Mobile Money Support as Donation to MTN: Mo-Mo Pay ID: 760719 or Pay to 0594064037 – Account Name: Donkomi Fie Ltd.
Better-Still, Call or WhatsApp: +233247654113 for more information or Enquiry about up-coming WRAK Outreach Programs, Book Camps and Educative Projects.
You can also log on to: www.widereadingamongkids.org to read and learn more. Go-Fund-Me Donation Web-Link: www.gofundme.com/f/xccby-wide-reading-among-kids   https://soundcloud.com/ikeboatofficial/wrakpromojingle  

Wide Reading Among Kids – WRAK – Improving Kids Reading

Originally, Written By Dennis Mann #Founder #President #Director – WRAK.
Re-Written Edited And Studio Recording Voice-Over By Ike Boat

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

J.J. Campbell
the money was tempting though
i had a
send me
an email
me three
a week
to be her
sugar boy
her on finally
an empty church parking lot
mothing makes
me happier than
an empty church
parking lot on a
sunday morning
i'm sure if a few
things would have
gone different in
my life
my thoughts on
god would be
totally different
although, i can't
help but think god
played a role in all
of that
so, the least of what
should happen is all
of the sheep going

under a tree
i used to write
poems under
a tree
across the street
from where my
girlfriend at the
time used to live
she saw me one
morning and told
me to stop stalking
i said just a few
more stanzas
to go
the cops didn't
understand that

have it both ways
sometimes i feel like
not being afraid to die
hasn't exactly worked
out for me
i somewhere lost the
desire to still live
i should be old enough
to know you can't have
it both ways
but a stubborn asshole
doesn't always get to

choose his own reality
new neighbors
the beauty
of living
around old
people is
you will
have new
every few
of course,
none of
them will
be that
you always
heard about

in the suburbs

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is old enough to know better. He’s been widely published over the last quarter century, most recently at The Rye Whiskey Review, Mad Swirl, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Beatnik Cowboy and Cajun Mutt Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)