Better Than Starbucks
Poetry and Fiction Journal
. . . if you love diversity and creative writing in any and every form, then you’re in the right place . . .
Vol VII No I
February, May, August,
Poetry for Children
Up the Clock
If hickory is just some wood,
and dock’s a thing you sit on
while idling by the water’s edge
in hopes your line gets bit on,
then dickory must be the one
that frightened poor dear mousey,
and made him run so hastily,
and got his fur all frowsy.
A dickory’s a fearsome thing:
his arms and legs are hairy,
his rolling eyes are wild and red,
his claws and teeth are scary.
And so, my child, you must take heed
and mind these words I’ve jotted:
the wisest mouse will always run
when dickory is spotted.
Christine Pennylegion has lived in and around Toronto, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Windsor. She holds a BA (Hons) in English from the University of Toronto, and an MAR from Trinity School for Ministry. Read more at christinepennylegion.com.
Cup of Cocoa
milk and cream.
Grasp it tightly.
Drop your chin.
Feel the heat rise.
Breathe it in.
Add some sprinkles.
Take a sip.
Whipped cream mustache.
Lick your lip.
Drink it slowly.
Cup of cocoa,
Kelly Conroy loves all things magical, whimsical, and numerical, and her goal in life is to make people smile. For more information, please visit her at kellyconroy.com.
eye of newt
First published in Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble.
B. J. Lee is a children’s author and poet. Her picture book, There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth, launched in 2019 (Pelican Publishing). Her poetry is published by Little, Brown, National Geographic, Bloomsbury, Penguin/DK, Eerdmans, Wordsong and Otter-Barry.
Valerie Mariya unsplash
with Robert Schechter
Righting a Poem
I ponder, I question, I write and rewrite,
The rhythm is wrong and the rhyme isn’t right.
I grimace, I grumble, I whimper and doubt,
I stay up all night with my pencil and pout.
I scribble, I scrabble, I struggle and scratch,
I hide in my den for ideas to hatch.
I fiddle, I fuddle, I labor and reek —
I’ve not had a bath for a month and a week.
I dilly, I dally, I squander a day,
my friends have all left me, my dog ran away.
I polish, I finish, I holler and cheer,
the rhyme at last chimes and the rhythm is clear.
I snuffle, I sniffle, I blubber and bawl —
tomorrow I know I won’t like it at all.
William Peery is a father of two and former math and science teacher from Southern California. His poems have appeared in Highlights for Children, Highlights High Five, and various children’s poetry anthologies.
My friend from school felt far away.
We used to hang out every day.
We felt alone til we got smart
and now we play though we’re apart.
We go outside, both grab a ball,
connect our tablets with a call.
He waves and smiles, we laugh and talk.
We mark Around the World with chalk.
And then we play. He shoots.
A miss. I shoot and miss. He hoots
and then he makes three in a row.
We air high-five. Oops, power's low.
We have to stop but that’s okay —
my friend seems not so far away.
Rebekah Hoeft is a teacher and writer from Michigan. Her poetry has been published in a variety of anthologies and on various websites. You can find more of her work at https://rebekahhoeft.blogspot.com.
My bed’s a swamp
where dinos stomp,
a starry place
in outer space,
a ship to ride
the stormy tide,
an ocean deep,
a mountain steep,
a cozy fort where I can sleep.
In winter, I’m dressed in a soft coat of white,
but I’m spotted with blossoms by spring’s warming light.
In summer, I’m green with a nest for a crown,
and by fall, I turn heads in a fiery gown.
Diana Murray is the author of over a dozen children’s books, including Unicorn Day, Ned the Knitting Pirate, and Goodnight, Veggies. Her poems also appear in magazines and anthologies such as Thanku: Poems of Gratitude. Visit her website at dianamurray.com.
Basant Panchami: The Hindu Festival of Kites
From dawn until dusk within the walls of Old Lahore
in the very heart of Pakistan
high above the domes of the Badshahi Mosque
the sky explodes with flying paper birds,
blues and greens and golds
trailing rainbow-colored tails and yellow ribbons.
Men fly kites from rooftop terraces
to the whistling, drums, and songs that echo
from the fruit and flower-filled marketplace below
while women draped in saris the color of mustard fields in bloom
serve fragrant yellow rice with henna-painted hands
as beaded bangles click-click along their arms.
Small children dressed in yellow chant prayers
as they read and write their first words
to honor the Goddess Saraswati’s birthday,
then run into the narrow streets
kites dancing in the sky
to celebrate the coming of spring.
First published in Cricket.
Helen Kemp Zax is the co-winner of the 2021 YorkMix International Prize for children’s poetry and the 2018 First Prize winner of the middle grade Katherine Paterson Prize. Her poetry appears in Cricket, High Five, and The Caterpillar.