December 19, 2019

Winter Over Nantyglo by Byron Beynon

It is difficult to see
down the valley tonight,
only the street lights
stretched like buoys in a dangerous world
offer the meat of comfort.
Here during winter
icicles resemble witches bones.
“Snow weather!” my uncle says
in a voice deliberate and frozen,
the colder elements annoy him. 
We shiver together
as the mountain streams
soften into silence,
their music is primitive
as they return 
to neolithic caves
forming elephant trunks.

Byron Beynon lives in West Wales. He coordinated the Wales section of the poetry anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann).  His collections include The Sundial (Flutter Press), The Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions), Cuffs (Rack Press) and Nocturne in Blue (Lapwing Publications). His selected poems appeared in 2018 (Bilingual: English/Romanian - published by Bibliotecha Universalis/Collectiile/ Revistei "Orizont Literar Contemporan", translations by Dr Monica Manolachi, University of Bucharest).

December 18, 2019

She Never Said Goodbye by Michael Minassian

My friend wrote poetry,
taping her poems
to the wall
and refrigerator door.

She once told me,
If I wanted to go to heaven
I’d send God a note saying:
Wish you were here.

Claiming she had no religion,
nor wanting to be reborn,
she only asked to be released
and kept one suitcase packed,

joking about carrying
her baggage
wherever she went.

One day, she was gone
and on the table
a napkin and coffee cup
smeared with red lipstick
next to a postcard:
He’s dead.
Mom said to come home.

In the drawer, a broken
heart, still bleeding.

Michael Minassian a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist (2010); Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017). For more information: https://michaelminassian.

December 16, 2019

The Burrow by Robert Nisbet

The sometime train conductor Noel
lives now with wifely, pretty Lily
in Bella Vista, Merlin’s Lane.
Of a morning, he will sniff the air,
collect the milk bottles and the paper,
then scurry velvet-footed back
to his own home hearth.

Paddington once,
four hours there, four back,
the passengers and paperbacks,
the buffet’s beers and coffees
and legs lurching to the feel of the journey,
fragments of talk and sentiment,
the smiles always flickering, flickering.

Now the chesty breathing (both of them),
the almost solid smell of love
on his own home hearth.
But occasionally,
when he will, of a morning, sniff the air,
might he scent diesel and distances,
the traces of his passengers
(you got all sorts, the mavericks, the mysteries),
and the smiles always flickering, flickering?

*First published in Clear Poetry (2014)

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet whose work has been published widely in Britain and the USA and who was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2019.

December 15, 2019

In The Stars by Michael Keshigian

They suspend like handfuls of confetti
thrown from the windows
that surround Times Square on New Year’s Eve,
clusters that never seem to move,
just shock the sky
when they suddenly appear
in that ancient garden
above our heads,
inducing an enchantment that perplexes us
and occasionally haunts our dreams.
They twist in darkness like dazed fireflies,
and blink when their momentum
is about to abate
and with some luck
we might glance a fading streak
before their lights go out,
before they fulfill our dreams,
which is why we lean against buildings
and always look up,
why we sneak a peek
through the moon roof
when traffic stalls our progress,
why the affluent
and the homeless stare at the sky,
because solace and hope
line the dark ceiling
and the lamps that bring the night to life,
hide answers to the dreams
that evaporate on our pillows.

Michael Keshigian’s thirteenth poetry collection, The Garden Of Summer was released April, 2019 by Flutter Press. He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Red River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Oyez Review, Bluepepper, Muddy River Review, Smoky Quartz and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 7 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (

December 12, 2019

Love, in a Season of Fire by James Walton

we spent the night
in the main ridge car park
you held onto the goldfish
humming into the bowl for their comfort
the goat unbundled on the back seat
head on my lap
listening to the chickens
talk away an unfamiliar place
the rescue rabbit standing up
to the three cats muttering discontent
our neighbour’s blue heeler head on paws
away with us when its owner stayed
until the all clear at 2.00 am
when we drove over the slack jawed bridge
and saw the hills in primary red and darkness
just night and a vermillion flow
‘black is not a colour’ as you adjusted
the sooty once white fedora
at an angle for explanation
the police opened the road barrier
horses and cattle ran to greet us
a kind eye of remonstrance
we fell asleep knowing you had it right
missed the new evacuation call
trying to announce the warning
from an abyss somehow bright
next morning steel bucket mop in hand
blanking out the embers
crushing the charcoal into a fleet sketch
the artist in you still singing

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He is the author of four collections of poetry: The Leviathan's Apprentice’ 2015, Walking Through Fences 2018, Unstill Mosaics 2019, and Abandoned Soliloquies 2019.

December 11, 2019

A Memory of Water by Michael L. Newell

Rain rips through the night
in savage gusts, tattoos
the window which sighs, punch drunk,
a fighter about to topple.

I roll over in bed, deep
contentment, snug, dry,
remembering a hundred other times
I have sprawled like this, listening
to drumming on roof and window.

The shadow filling the room
is bigger than night or memory
and I slide into it, a familiar robe--
warm, worn, comforting.

There is a history here, yours and mine,
a chronicle of cells growing more complex,
moving toward dry land but never
forgetting, always coming back to the shore to dangle
a foot, a toe, a sleepy lolling around

the edge of water--
like tonight as I leave
a window half-opened
and turn my face to the fine spray.

Michael L. Newell is a retired English/Theatre teacher.  His most recent book is Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge (Bellowing Ark Press, 2018).

December 9, 2019

Love's Lullaby by January Paige

Lips burning red,
Mimic a depraved past,
One, filled with malice,
Sorrow has been bred.

Colors disguised the misery,
Layered over her face,
She froze at the vanity,
Someone stole her grace. 

The clock struck nine,
Tears of mascara stained lines,
Porcelain skin blackened by fate,
Soul crippled from bruises laced.

Smiles fade,
Mirrors break,
All that was left looking back,
Were shards of a broken face.

Wasting time was never enough,
Seeing her reflection,
She concealed her condition,
with a little blush,

She battled and lost,
Sitting patiently,
With that red gloss.
Simplistic beauty reflected,
What love didn't sustain,
Someone will see her,
Behind a veil of pain.

She hesitated to see clearer,
Red etched her fingers,
Hiding behind lip-gloss and mirrors. 

January Paige is a romance ghostwriter and self−published author living in Florida with her husband. When she isn’t writing about love, she is living it. Poetry is a love she has on the side, kind of like a mistress--she tries and keep it in the dark.