top of page

Poetry Unplugged


     Near the boxcar

          as the train began to move

     slow flickerings of sparks

          and lax assurances.

     Near the gate

          a gathering of greyness

          hissing final farewells.


     As the smoke rose,

          the train burned wood,

     the wheels turned, and

         rods pushed gleamingly.


     Outside there was snow . . .

          and ghosts attempting

               to gather themselves

                    into snowmen.


cf. Nguyen Chi Thien’s “Travel with Grief — Goodbye to Joy.”

Born in New England, reared and educated primarily in Asia, Kiersta Recktenwald writes mostly poetry and aphorisms. She’s published in Chrysanthemum, Eucalypt, Poetry Midwest, Westward Quarterly, The Sandy River Review, etc., and lives in rural Maine and uptown Seattle.

Cliff Indignity: An acrostic sonnet

Can you imagine if you were a cliff

Like Dover’s famous crags of sheer white rock—

If you had no defence against the whiff

Fresh guano leaves when seabirds poop en bloc?

For centuries, I’ve braved the winds that blow,

Inspiring poets, who are all at sea,

Not underneath the seabirds, or they’d know

Divine enchantment is not felt by me!

If I could talk to seabirds, I would grouse:

Get off my face, you brainless booby birds!

Nest somewhere else, perhaps some poet’s house.

Instead of lauding cliffs, they’d curse your turds! . . .

Though poets write of heavenly allure,

Yet sheer indignity’s what I endure!

Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. His acrostic sonnets have appeared in Current Conservation, Ekphrastic Review, Light, Lighten Up Online, Oddball Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, The Satirist, and several other journals.


David Clode on unsplash


When a last breath of life kisses the blood red moon,

they say to seek you in the darkest ravines,

I ring the mourning bell to bring you to me.

Born from the devil's cradle as the willow weeps,

my heart beats for thee,

as the moon eats away the night, you come to me.

Gravedigger, I am in love with thee.

Jess Zambrano is a student who enjoys exploring topics of love, loss, the self, and nature within free verse poetry.

Just Like She Said

I gripped its hand

felt it transform

into a talon


I held its body

between the sheets

as it grew corpse cold


I kept it with me

dragged it

from place to place

as it rotted


my eyes burning

flowing like springs


now I spoon

with its ghost

at night


and smile


it truly is better

this way.

Brian Rihlmann lives and writes in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared throughout the small presses. His latest poetry collection, Night At My Throat (2020),was published by Pony One Dog Press.

Candle Wax

The candle next to me crackled

while the man in my apartment

listed off names of women

he had been with

and how little they all meant

to him. They sat

in the candle

and burned up above his words,

all their features washed away

in red and yellow and orange light.

They called for help,

but he had no wind left

to save them

as his was all used.

I could have helped,

but my lungs were too weak

from all the smoke

and his breath was keeping

my cigarette lit.

Michael Stitz is an emerging poet and recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His poetry focuses on banality in modern life and the abrasive reality we all face.

Buried in the Garden

Now I lie dead, buried in the garden,

And the plants take over.

Two hibiscus bushes grow from my eyes,

Oleander from my nose,

A sapodilla will fruit from my mouth,

Casuarinas grow to sigh from my ears.

From my chest a love vine straggles out

And black crabs live in the cavities of my lungs.

A chicken boa curls around and hunts up and down

And from my private parts grows

That least private of plants, a coconut palm.

From my feet termites are building tunnels out around the world.

So is my body divided, reused, and the birds take hair for their nests

And the calcium of bones and teeth for their eggs

And the body, the body is gone.

And what am I, but a body? What would remain in your sieve if you sift my remains?

Only some thoughts, others’ memories of some thoughts,

Blown away on the wind when the rememberers themselves are gone.

First published in Snakeskin.

Robin Helweg-Larsen’s poems have been published in Better Than Starbucks and other magazines in several countries. He is Series Editor for Sampson Low’s “Potcake Chapbooks,” and he blogs at from his hometown of Governor’s Harbour in the Bahamas.

Love Poem

Found you in my bar last night just like I found you years ago, ready and able.

Everyone wished us well as we left on the journey of no return.

Very slowly we pushed the canoe off the sand into the stream with a tiny jump.

Quiet into dark, no smell touch feeling, bliss is eternal nothing.

I wanted you to count to a hundred by ones and believe.

Something told me I was lucky you would never be like me.

After we play, the leaves on the trees all blown away.

E. Martin Pedersen, originally from San Francisco, has lived for over 40 years in eastern Sicily. He has published two collections of haiku, Bitter Pills and Smart Pills, and a chapbook, Exile’s Choice, just out from Kelsay Books.

bottom of page