Three poems by Paul Robert Mullen


i held you in my hand
like a russian doll
……………..excavating layer by layer
riding the curves
——-……..with my forefinger

the sac below my penis
……………………………………….aching heavy
bruises bending down my veins
your eyes ……………………..flirting with the tenderness
………………..of my throat

i have lived ……………………and you have lived
……………….but this is living


late october

the clocks go back tonight

…………….i’ll watch those hands
go round and round ‘till midnight comes
…………….take us all back to yesterday
with a simple twist
………………………….of plastic

there’ll be no knocks at my hunk of pine
no rattles at my venetian blinds
no tapping at the window panes
……………………….or vibrations on my phone again
……………………………………..and again and again

nothing but
the night and i ………………………… old lovers
unfolding …….relapsing …….remoulding
the crescent midnight moon
…………….high above the rain



your eyes
open up before me
like doors
………… something possible


Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Liverpool, U.K. He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018). He has been widely published in magazine, journals and anthologies worldwide. Paul also enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Twitter: @mushyprm35

Magazines/E-zines/Journals/Anthologies published in:

Allegro, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Bees Are Dead, Bending Genres, Black Bough Poetry, Blossom In Winter, Bonnie’s Crew, Borderlines, Cephalo Press, Cleaning Up Glitter, Constellate, Crossways, Decanto, Dodging The Rain, Dreamcatcher, Eunoia Review, Fevers of the Mind Poetry & Art Digest, Fire, Four X Four, Ghost City Press, Heron Clan, Last Exit, Light Through The Mist, Mojave Heart, Poetry Pacific, Panning For Poems, Pendora, Selcouth Station, Silk & Smoke, Streetcake, Sub-Rosa, The Canon’s Mouth, The Fictional Café, The Fiction Pool, The Foxglove Journal, The Interpreter’s House, The Journal, The Mark Literary Review, The Pangolin Review, Three Drops From A Cauldron, Turnpike Magazine, Words For The Wild, Wellington Street Review

Haibun For Race Dysphoria, by Clara B. Jones

for Kara Walker

Jamal has been diagnosed with a severe form of Race Dysphoria, producing anxiety, even psychotic episodes, by desires to identify as a racial type other than the one assigned at birth. Since he was six, Jamal has felt like a white person, never eating collard greens or fried flounder sandwiches. His mother called him a “picky eater” though she sometimes worried it might be more than that. Jamal’s father was convinced he was gay since he showed no interest in sports except fencing which he watched on PBS® every Friday at nine. When his brother, Tyrone, played rap music, Jamal hid under blankets in a fetal position which his counselor said was a sure symptom of Oedipal conflict and regression to a pre-sexual stage. [Race Dysphoria* was appended to DSM-IV by a near-unanimous vote at the Spring A.P.A. convention in 2018. Members disagreed about how the disorder should be classified, but a majority determined the pathology to be a type of anxiety.] When his family went out to eat, Jamal had a tantrum if Tyrone suggested McDonald’s®, and he cried uncontrollably if his mother wore an afro wig. When his father got corn rows, listening to Wagner was Jamal’s only consolation, and thinking about the courage of Rachel Dolezal sometimes brought him temporary relief. Though his dark skin would make it difficult to be accepted as Caucasian, Jamal is confident that a name-change will be a step in the right direction. A transracial person has nowhere to go but up.

Turns chrysanthemums xanthous
And zebra stripes blue.

*”A. An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. This pattern is manifested in two (or more) of the following areas: 1. Cognition (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people and events) 2. Affectivity (i.e., the range, intensity, liability, and appropriateness of emotional response) 3. Interpersonal functioning 4. Impulse control B. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations. C. The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. D. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood. E. The enduring pattern is not better accounted for as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder. F. The enduring pattern is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., head trauma).” DSM-IV (pp 287-298)


Clara B. Jones is a Knowledge Worker practicing in Silver Spring, MD, USA. Among other works, she is author of the collection, Poems for Rachel Dolezal, published in 2019 by GaussPDF.

Zaum Is Autonomous, by Clara B. Jones

Feminism || ORLAN || Postmodernism→Interoperational
All Art is about women.

Käthe Kollwitz || Helen Frankenthaler || Matriarchy || Hierarchy
All Art is gendered.

Beauty || Perfection→The West [Arc]
Bell-Opticon || Bell Curve→Mathematics || Maps

Gender relations || Margo Emm || Gender dysphoria || avant garde || Formalism
All Art is [about] surveillance.

It’s hard. It’s just too hard.

Zaum || Futurism || Kruchenykh || Enchilada
All Art is [about] itself.

Excavation || Cave painting || Primitive→Hominoid

Derrida || Episteme [Green] || Okra || Pine
All Art is [about] nothing [nihilistic].

Marriage || Mother || Motherwell→Motherboard
de Kooning || Basquiat || “Woman, I, 1950-52″ || Linda Nochlin (1998)

Every love story is a horror movie.
All Art is [about] death [petit mort].

Mishima || Sadomasochism→Sword
Impermanence || Imperfection→Japan [Black] || Wabi Sabi [Beauty]

Lee Krasner || Anita Brookner→Husband
All Art is about sex.

Haraway || Cyborg || Science || Performance
All Art is political.

Identity || Decompensation || Asylum [Panopticon]
All Art is [about] madness.

Judith Butler || Anna Freud || id || “defamiliar”
All Art is [about] impulse.

Differential || Connectionism || AI [Deconstruct] || Resist [Disrupt]
Women placed in boxes—kitchens, nurseries, patisseries [Holly Iglesias]


Clara B. Jones is a Knowledge Worker practicing in Silver Spring, MD [USA]. Among other works, she is author of the collection, Poems For Rachel Dolezal, published in 2019 by GaussPDF.



Six poems by Mark Young

A line from Childish Gambino

I count each square. The use
of hemocytometer trypan blue
exclusion tells me which squares
are occupied by something other

than holographic images & which
are able to populated by house-
hold items. Vacancy is everything
in my job. I got furniture to move.


Two geographies:


Be’er Sheva

Back then, working out
where the miracles occurred
was an hallucinogenic night-

mare. Now every full color
44-page bible atlas has clear
plastic overlays of modern-day

cities & towns to permit a seam-
less studio-to-home experience.
It’s called adaptive immunity.


Was to be found hauling
his concertina up Shota
Rustaveli Street. Swallows
swept beneath his feet, in
some kind of toccata &
fugue pattern, dispensed
in the pitter patter plague
proportions that would
later come to be so well
known as the signature
intro to every performance
given by Johann Sebastian
in his Lovin’ Spoonful days.


As it comes

Hitting the cyber streets via
a highly predictable leak
this weekend is an image of
snow on the early flowering

cherry trees in Fukuoka. It
has been co-opted by every-
one from gun rights activists
to fast food chains, in tandem

with the observation that un-
truths are far more easily
swallowed when taken with
a small amount of nectar.

after touring your war museum

The Romans & the Arabs —
oddly & exotically — built
seaside towns filled with
guttered fields for grow-
ing rice in. But ever since
gift shops destroyed those
first attempts & allowed the
bubonic plague entry into

Europe, the principle of
asymmetry no longer holds.
Flags may be flown at night
only when fish or ducks or
any other actor in the economy
is suffering from a food allergy.

Grace note

What do we write about
at the beginning, at the end?

Two periods of fifteen years.
Twenty-five years of silence

in between. Began by writing
about lizards. Have come

back to them again. Outlived
the earlier ones. The later ones

will probably outlive me. What
is the angle of a turning circle?


The motel pool

The atrium is full of
canaries, & many men
in Armani suits & pointy-
toe shoes. Florentine is
big this year, alongside
fishing shirts & sweet
potato fries. A car
drives slowly along the
street. The canaries re-
cite poems in chorus
in Tibetan whilst a
black-hat lama does
a simultaneous trans-
lation. The words inter-
sect to make a third
poem, which is what I
am interested in. Children
walk their grandparents.
A group of new mothers
arrive dressed all in black,
almost as if they have con-
fused birth with death.
Emphasis is added for
emphasis. Avocados are
severely overrated.


Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry since 1959. He is the author of around fifty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are The Word Factory: a miscellany, from gradient books of Finland; The Perfume of The Abyss from Moria Books; & A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks from otata. Due out later this year are Residual sonnets from Ma Press & taxonomic drift from Luna Bisonte Prods.

Four poems by Kushal Poddar

Crumbs On Your Metro Seat
Your ex called you a whore,
although only as a metaphor-
a slap of leather on the days of tearing lace.
The metro asks you
not to have a quick lunch.
Your crumbs on the seat widens their discomfort.
Your ex called you last night
and apologized for calling you by mistake.
The station you alight is a Sunday clouded to loneliness.
Paper Monster
The monster lives in the papers
my father writes on my life.
Come to the basement,
meet the bushy cats, asleep.
In the cabinet, in the bureau
drawn by the years
the life sprawls deep.
We must tip toe. We must see
it from a distance so the ink
may remain blurred in
the cage and sky of obscurity.
You must be curious, and I desire to show
you the monster, you, the monster,
but the cats make my nose water.


City Jam
A vein and an artery
of the AC machine
seats when flies the finch.
The hot wind your fortress
adds to the gully summer!
The dwarf houses! The secret
of owning the street tap
before others arrive!
The swings of the red pipe, blue pipe!
On the cornice gleam
the contraceptive pills
you threw away on the Mother’s Day night.
Far below, city grows
with tin shades, tanned boys
arrowing the Venus of the dusk.
From the bay, a cyclone says,
” I’m inevitable.”
So are the finches. So are the finches


Finding Mother In A Closet
She thinks she has blood
on her hands-
the same those shake so
she can’t sew anymore.
I say,
“I’m alive. Father is.
There is no blood. At least
not on your skin.”
Everything was dead.
Night plays a little jazz.
Then begins the world news.


Edited the online magazine ‘Words Surfacing’.
Authored ‘The Circus Came To My Island’ (Spare Change Press, Ohio), “A Place For Your Ghost Animals” (Ripple Effect Publishing, Colorado Springs), “Understanding The Neighborhood” (BRP, Australia), “Scratches Within” (Barbara Maat, Florida), “Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems”  (BRP, Australia) and “Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems” (Hawakal Publishers, India)

·         Author Facebook-

·         Twitter-

Four poems by Dah Helmer


Without knowing
our beginning
we do not know
how far we have come
The first seed sprouted
as wordless space
Yes, we have named it
many times
and still
we do not know it


If only to drift away
to another universe
that knows
no objects
no boundaries
no suffering


We are like rocks
held in
deep agony
Sealed inside
the high pitched squeal
the shuddering heart


I say this softly / Man,
a forceful creature / a living
and misdirected


Dah’s seventh poetry collection is Something Else’s Thoughts (Transcendent Zero Press)
He is a Pushcart Prize and Best Of The Net nominee, and the lead editor of the poetry

critique group, The Lounge. Dah’s eighth book is Full Life In The Day Of A Poet
(Cyberwit Press).

Six poems by Alisa Velaj

Poetic Credo

I have always known where I come from, and I have always wanted the path on which I must go. I am not talking about visible paths, on which we travel every day, but those paths where the winds rattle and go crazy. I want to apprehend the language of those winds, their unknown tongues. Then, when I lie to myself that I have translated something from them, even a little bit of that rattle, I sit and throw it down on paper. There are other kinds of visible winds, the tangible and inglorious ones, though these cannot be compared to my original inspirations. They are faint but revolutionary; they incorporate the air of the cities and my breath. In them, they translate me and throw me down on paper as poetry. Yes, oh yes, I am their poetry. But as inglorious as they are themselves…


The wind foundations
Are to be found in Odysseus’ migrations.
The unwoven cloth
Is the building…


Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj
I fear the oblivion of a stone
At the dusk of a nameless city
My grandmother had told me that the stone
Has breathed sadness since immemorial times
For it carries the city in its bone…

Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj

Taking shape after shape,
Matter translates into different selves
At the speed of light.
Paralysis shines in human eyes.
Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj
Shadow ravens
Preach by the river
Of the white lilies


Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj

A ring with a black ribbon
Running through it
Flies in the air
As if it were a flag at half mast
No cherub
Is raising toasts at the wedding party…
Translation from Albanian Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj

Five poems by Holly Day

Mouse Trap

The little mice watch me from their prison of tin and plexiglass
inside the live mouse trap I baited the night before. Four little mice
with pointed noses and trembling whiskers
eyes black and bulging against their dark brown fur.
I wonder how I must appear to them, this giant thing
that they spend their days avoiding, rushing from one dark corner
to another at the sound of my footsteps, and now
there’s nowhere left to go, they wandered into this baited box
and now I have them in my curious grasp.

I tap on the little plexiglass window and they
rush to the corners of the box,
cram themselves into the entrance chute, their thin black tails
twitching and curling, hanging out in the open. I imagine
what it would be like to keep them as pets, these stinky little mice
what it would be like to train these wild mice to live in a cage
to eat only when food is offered, and only what I alone offer them
if eventually, they would learn to anticipate my arrival
at the door of their cage with joy, or if
they would always be just as terrified of me as this?



You can’t let the universe overwhelm you, can’t let
the infinite reaches of space intimidate you.
You can’t let the size of a star convince you
that you don’t exist, you don’t matter, you do.

Even a tiny mote of dust
floating in the air, pinned by a sunbeam
occasionally reflects the light just enough
to become the brightest object in the room
a flash of unexpected brilliance.



Yesterday is a river that swallows all rivers.
Everything that came before this morning is part of the same
itinerant body of water. There’s no need to keep track.
I emerge from yesterday washed clean
of everything that came before, brand new, I insist
that we treat this person I am as a brand new me with no past
no past at all.

There is an island in the Amazon
strewn with the bodies of discarded dolls
offerings to some child long gone. I imagine
you’d like to make offerings to a similar child in me
some ghost child you can blame for tantrums
the way I talk in my sleep when I’m scared.

In my dreams, I am suffocating all of the ghosts
that keep me from being a brand new person,
a person without a past. I hold their wide-eyed faces
down in the water until the bubbles stop.
I insist on a new name every day.
I will only answer to these new names until
all of the old parts of me are gone.


Nowhere ‘Til April

In my desk is a picture  of a jungle from somewhere
warm and green that a friend once sent me, said I could go there
live in his family’s abandoned farm any time I’d like
there’s no plumbing or electricity there and sometimes snakes
make getting to the front door difficult, but here is a picture
and I  can stay there.

I can feel the edges of the green photograph in my pocket
when I walk the dog in the winter, when I wait for her to take a crap
hovering in apparent agony over the ankle-deep snow. I can go there
any time I’d like, and there would be snakes but it would be warm.



When your parents are gone, all of the unanswered questions
must be written on pieces of paper and shoved in between rocks
whispered into tape recorders held by spiritualists

shouted from the top of a hill into a sky full of stars.
there are oracles in the caverns beneath toppled Aztec ruins
trees that take questions in spirit forests in Estonia

but all of these
are ineffective conduits for grief.


Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Plainsongs, The Long Islander, and The Nashwaak Review. Her newest poetry collections are In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press), A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing), Folios of Dried Flowers and Pressed Birds(, Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), and  Into the Cracks(Golden Antelope) 

Three poems by John Grey


Some memories are thin air.
Or they take vacations,
for years, some of them.

And they’re lazy.
Not workaholics like
the ones I’m pleased to remember.

Or they’re restless
like the people in them,
don’t stick around for
when I want to recall.

Or they’re considerate,
slip away, knowing that
a mind is limited,
and room must be available
for ideas.

As to why
you’re a stranger to me,
some memories are good
at taking orders.



The day is long but not long enough
for now the dark grimly enters the picture.

My lights come on automatically,
to mimic my breath and my heartbeat.

The closer I am to my destination,
the more endless the journey feels.

Earlier, the horizon guided me.
Now the road ahead disappears into oblivion.

Even though I know where I am
and where I’m going, the night is unsettling.

For this information is now mine alone.
I don’t know what I should be doing with it.



I can’t remember.
All I can come up with
is the white-eyed blankness of a china doll.
No dreams possess the face.
Can’t say “I love you”
or even “Don’t count on it.”

And this other one.
The corrugated gray hair is familiar.
But I try for flesh and I get galvanized iron.

And a third.
She’s surely sputtering words at me –
a banjo-twanging southern drawl –
but her expressions don’t follow.
There’s no one there.

The surrounds have taken the impress
of so many people.
But they’re no good with faces.
Give them skulls
and they stretch skin over,
unwrinkled, unknowable,
tight as drumheads.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work
upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review and the Dunes