2 Poems by Tony Rickaby

Elephant & Castle Underground Station

Elephant & Castle Underground Station

A voice from somewhere
Accelerates away around
Chugging on
Circling overhead
Silence suddenly
Screeching at the crossing
Shouting running home
Siren round the corner
The Eastenders theme
This particular flightpath
Today’s rat run
A baby cries spasms
Buster barking
A conversation ends in laughter
In a deep voice
Door slams deeply
Hiss from somewhere
Not so loud reply
Shunt to a halt
Cheerful snatches
Something muffled dragged
Sort of rustling
A machine spins
Asking so quietly
Blares and booms
Continuous screaming
Coughing in a waistcoat
Red anorak revs
Repairs somewhere
Roof bangings
Sighing on a car bonnet
Splattering onto concrete
Throbbing in time
IMG_5131 copy (1) copy

photograph by Tony Rickaby

different dots – fixed directions
floating rubber – grey positions
lines at angle – random dark
row of arcs – see-through metal
some thin – some thick
striped horizontals – elastic brown
thicker emerging – woollen sphere
angled table – floating ochre
camouflage cover – concentric slots
cracked hill – edible stop
lost root – mirrored y
mystery box – resting bricks
splitting wall – yellow island
upturned purple – criss-crossed flaking
corrugated shop – leaning diamonds
mesh wall – hanging hedge
weeping slats – tangled brick
wooden rust – lonely white
Tony Ri
Tony Rickaby has produced hypertext animations for Drunken Boat, Locus Novus and Toad; visual poems for Altered Scale, Counterexample Poetics, Cricket, InStereo Press, 20×20, Otoliths and Suss; prose for Anderbo, Athregeum, Aspidistra, Dark Sky, Litro, The Whistling Fire, and Word Riot; poetry for Camel Saloon, Ditch, Message in a Bottle and Sugar Mule. He lives in London. Tony Rickaby

Age of Discovery by Frank Wilson


Photograph by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

Age of Discovery
Now is seeing where you’ve been and done or not
While all about encroaches resolution
And conclusion. So much reprise. Using
Hands for climbing stairs once more, as long ago,
Grown near again, bestows a shape on all
That’s been, and everything you noticed once
Within the cast of being takes its bow.
chimera frank

Frank Wilson is a retired Inquirer book editor. Visit his blog Books, Inq. — The Epilogue. Email him at PresterFrank@gmail.com.  



2 poems by Adrian Manning

for the words
for the life lived
that still engulfs us
the flames of the fire
for the mistakes
for the courage to
make them
where others fear
the blood in the vein
for the ease of the blackbird
so easily mistaken
for the imitators
especially those that grow
their own voice
after failing to be Bukowski
for giving a voice
to the mute
for the words
for ever

Photograph by g emil reutter

storm force
translations w/
blue-eyed snow &
deserts of dusk –
neon talk silenced
in all languages
minds w/out speech
tomorrow invaded
by dark rumours
imaginary feelings
in yr
we/re far from
home &
wandering in
the night
in broken
seeking whale
bone solutions
Adrian Manning lives and writes in Leicester, England. He is a pushcart nominated poet and author of numerous chapbooks, the most recent being “13 Poems From The Edge Of Extinction” published by Crisis Chronicles Press. He is also the editor of Concrete Meat Press.  CONCRETE MEAT PRESS

2 Poems by Judy Kronenfeld


Crane Fly by Lenny

Spring night—almost asleep:
a crane fly flutters its transparent wings
against my cheek like a ghost flower,
like a memory visiting
and gone, a dream immediately
without buzz, without sting.

Courtesy of Bharata Bharati

 Number and Weight
The number of stars in the universe may be 300 sextillion. Or perhaps only 100 sextillion. Subtract 200 incalculables. The mind yaws. Closes off. This is not like clinking change from the vending machine—sturdy quarters, slim dimes, chunky nickels. The multiplication table collapses, befuddled by zeros, spilling whatever was on it. O.K. Let’s say the number of stars is equal to the number of cells in all the bodies on earth, as we’ve read somewhere or other. Is that more comfortable? Not really? Naturalized, but still uncanny. And on a small planet circling an average star in a middleweight galaxy only 100,000 light-years across, a group of blinded Kurds poisoned by Saddam’s sarin lash themselves together and move into the wind. Merely a light year’s worth of pain?  Who’s counting? Is anyone counting? The Hutus arrive singing and whistling for the day’s killing in the marshes where the Tutsis hide among the papyrus, drinking the muddy water tinged with blood when they can’t stand their thirst. A Brazilian rubber company finishes off the Indian “parasites” in an Amazonian village by dropping dynamite from a plane; they return for the survivors, shoot off the head of a nursing baby, hang her upside down. The perfect children asphyxiated by Assad’s chemical weapons lie neatly on the ground in their white shrouds, the foam wiped from their lips, their hair beautifully trimmed. Try to encompass history’s pain in your mind for the mathematical challenge, or like some old god counting up suffering points for heaven. It boggles like the stars. Flood, cyclone, Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook. Though a woman in a fitting-room falls on her knees, Thank you Jesus for this dress. Hitler, Mao, earthquake, tsunami, Hiroshima, Vietnam, Mount Sinjar, the Bataclan. Though those Alzheimer’s patients break out in song. The Crusades,  plague, smallpox, Armenia, Biafra, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, Iraq, Syria, the displaced and slain to come… The incandescently unimaginable sum? When one destroyed weightless soul is an entire world of lost light?
Judy Kronenfeld’s fourth full-length collection of poetry, Bird Flying through the Banquet, was published by FutureCycle Press in March, 2017. Her most recent prior books of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, 2nd edition, (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have appeared in Avatar, American Poetry Journal, Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Portland Review, Sequestrum, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, Valparaiso Poetry Review and other print and online journals, and in twenty anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, University of California, Riverside, and an Associate Editor of the online poetry journal, Poemeleon. For more information, please see her website, Judy Kronenfeld

Martin Fierro by José Hernandez

Martin Fierro - Jose Hernandez
Review by Stephen Page
In order to delve deeper into the gaucho mind, as research for my poem project, I read José Hernandez’s Martin Fierro.  I have been told by many people that the fictional character Martín Fierro is a model for gauchos.  Argentine children are required to memorize the first part of the poem in grade school, and most everyone in Argentina sees Fierro as a kind of Robin Hood (though I see him as more of a Jesse James or a Billy the Kid).  To help you begin to understand, I translated the first part of the poem for you.  It is in the Criollo vernacular, so it required a lot of reference work.  The epic poem is a novel in verse, with character development and a thick plot. It is over 2,000 lines long, set mostly in six-line stanzas, the 2nd , 3rd and 6th lines rhyming, and the 4th and 5th lines rhyming; the first line is unrhymed, I think as a way for Hernandez to freely set up the stanza.  In my translation, I tried to maintain some meter, but the rhyme I disregarded in order not to bend syntax and meaning.   If Martin Fierro is an anti-hero for the Argentine people and a model for gauchos, I understand now why there are so many bad-guys that work on ranches.  Fierro deserts the army, raids Indian camps, picks one-on-one knife fights with other men just to watch how they die, and ends up stealing for a living, blaming the government and rich people for his actions.  Things are becoming clearer for me.  The poem begins as an anthem against colonialism and political war (you could parallel this with a ‘have-not’ rising against the ‘haves’), but it ends up an excuse for sociopathic behavior and pure anarchy.   (This is, of course, a culture issue, and I use my knowledge of this not to judge but to understand.)
I – Cantor y Gaucho
Aquí me pongo a cantar
Al compás de la vigüela,
Que el hombre que lo desvela
Una pena estraordinaria
Como la ave solitaria
Con el cantar se consuela.
Pido a los Santos del Cielo
Que ayuden mi pensamiento;
Les pido en este momento
Que voy a cantar mi historia
Me refresquen la memoria
Y aclaren mi entendimiento.
Vengan Santos milagrosos,
Vengan todos en mi ayuda,
Que la lengua se me añuda
Y se me turba la vista;
Pido a Dios que me asista
En una ocasión tan ruda.
Yo he visto muchos cantores,
Con famas bien obtenidas,
Y que después de adquiridas
No las quieren sustentar
Parece que sin largar
se cansaron en partidas
Mas ande otro criollo pasa
Martín Fierro ha de pasar;
nada lo hace recular
ni los fantasmas lo espantan,
y dende que todos cantan
yo también quiero cantar.
Cantando me he de morir
Cantando me han de enterrar,
Y cantando he de llegar
Al pie del eterno padre:
Dende el vientre de mi madre
Vine a este mundo a cantar.
Que no se trabe mi lengua
Ni me falte la palabra:
El cantar mi gloria labra
Y poniéndome a cantar,
Cantando me han de encontrar
Aunque la tierra se abra.
Me siento en el plan de un bajo
A cantar un argumento:
Como si soplara el viento
Hago tiritar los pastos;
Con oros, copas y bastos
Juega allí mi pensamiento.
Yo no soy cantor letrao,
Mas si me pongo a cantar
No tengo cuándo acabar
Y me envejezco cantando:
Las coplas me van brotando
Como agua de manantial.
Con la guitarra en la mano
Ni las moscas se me arriman,
Naides me pone el pie encima,
Y cuando el pecho se entona,
Hago gemir a la prima
Y llorar a la bordona.
Yo soy toro en mi rodeo
Y torazo en rodeo ajeno;
Siempre me tuve por güeno
Y si me quieren probar,
Salgan otros a cantar
Y veremos quién es menos.
No me hago al lao de la güeya
Aunque vengan degollando,
Con los blandos yo soy blando
Y soy duro con los duros,
Y ninguno en un apuro
Me ha visto andar tutubiando.
En el peligro, ¡qué Cristos!
El corazón se me enancha,
Pues toda la tierra es cancha,
Y de eso naides se asombre:
El que se tiene por hombre
Ande quiere hace pata ancha.
Soy gaucho, y entiendaló
Como mi lengua lo esplica:
Para mí la tierra es chica
Y pudiera ser mayor;
Ni la víbora me pica
Ni quema mi frente el sol
Nací como nace el peje
En el fondo de la mar;
Naides me puede quitar
Aquello que Dios me dio
Lo que al mundo truje yo
Del mundo lo he de llevar.
Mi gloria es vivir tan libre
Como el pájaro del cielo:
No hago nido en este suelo
Ande hay tanto que sufrir,
Y naides me ha de seguir
Cuando yo remuento el vuelo.
Yo no tengo en el amor
Quien me venga con querellas;
Como esas aves tan bellas
Que saltan de rama en rama,
Yo hago en el trébol mi cama,
Y me cubren las estrellas.
Y sepan cuantos escuchan
De mis penas el relato,
Que nunca peleo ni mato
Sino por necesidá,
Y que a tanta alversidá
Sólo me arrojó el mal trato
Y atiendan la relación
que hace un gaucho perseguido,
que padre y marido ha sido
empeñoso y diligente,
y sin embargo la gente
lo tiene por un bandido
The Gaucho Martín Fierro
I – Singer and Gaucho.
Here I begin to sing
with the company of guitar,
like a man who is sleepless
from an extraordinary pain
that like a solitary bird
sings to be consoled.
I ask the saints in Heaven
to help me with my thoughts;
I ask them during this moment
that I will sing my history
to refresh my memory of me
and clarify my understanding.
Come Holy miracles,
come all to my aid,
the language tongue-ties me
and clouds my vision;
I ask that God assists me
in so crude an occasion.
I have seen many singers,
who obtained good fame,
and after they acquired it
did not want to keep it;
it seems that without realizing
they got tired of the games.
Further than any gaucho
has Martín Fierro gone;
nothing he does is cowardly
or is he frightened by ghosts,
and since they all sing
I also want to sing.
Singing I will die
singing they will bury me,
and singing I will arrive
at the foot of the Eternal Father:
because from the belly of my mother
I came into this world to sing.
Because my speech is not perfect
and words are hard to find:
through singing my glory shines
and  by setting myself to sing,
singing they will find me
even when the Earth chasms.
I am in the plan of a lowly one
to sing out  in protest:
like when the wind blows
it makes the grass ripple;
with all the cards in a deck of tricks
my thoughts will play there.
I am not a learned singer,
and when I start to sing
I do not know when to stop
so I age while I am singing:
the songs are flowing from me
like a water from a spring.
With a guitar in my hand
the flies do not bother me,
nobody is above me,
and when my chest intones,
I make the strings moan
and cry with the chords.
I am the bull of my own herd
but visit other herds;
I always thought myself quite good,
but if they want to test me
in contest with another,
they will see who is the better.
Do not place me in the ranks
when they come cutting throats,
with the friendly I am friendly
but with the tough I am tougher,
and none in any confrontation
have ever seen me walk trembling.
In dangerous situations, Christ Jesus!
my courage enlarges,
and because all the world is a battle-field,
no one can be astonished:
that who he who is a real man
stands with his legs splayed wide.
I am gaucho, and understand
like my language will explain;
for me the Earth is small
and should be much larger,
but the viper never bites me
and the sun never scorches me.
I was born as a fish is born
at the bottom of the sea;
none can take from me
what God gave to me;
what the world gives to me
to the world I will return.
My glory is to live free
as the bird in the sky:
I do not make a nest on this ground
where to walk is to suffer,
and no one has to follow me
when I veer in my direction.
I do not have love
for those that come to quarrel;
like those beautiful birds
that jump from branch to branch,
I make my bed with grasses,
and the stars are my blanket.
And know when you listen
in empathy for my pain,
that I never fight or kill
except when it is necessary,
and when I am so badly treated
I have to give in return.
And they who make the rules
that persecute a gaucho,
who though father and husband
has been loyal and diligent,
have created for themselves
a bandit for the people

Stephen Page is the  author of “A Ranch Bordering the Salt River.”. He can be found at



Seek the Holy Dark by Clare L. Martin

f h
Review by Karen Corinne Herceg
            It may feel a bit unnatural to combine the words holy and dark, but all one needs to do is turn on the news and see well-intentioned people navigating a world of violence, and the realities of lives poised continually within antithetical forces, to realize it’s not such an unusual merger. This extends to our interior being as well since it reflects, on a microscopic level, what exists in a macroscopic equivalent. Clare L. Martin’s latest book Seek the Holy Dark: Poems was written with an intrepid pen and a fierce heart that knows all too well the many unbearable burdens of existence. A 2017 selection of the Louisiana Cajun and Creole Series by Yellow Flag Press, it embodies the inheritance of a melancholy, mixed history of those particular southern sensibilities, specifically the Franco-American descendants of colonial Louisiana, centralized in the legacies of New Orleans. It’s a rich blend of exotic architecture, authentic jazz music and Mardi Gras frenzy that belies a region fraught with ghost histories, voodoo stories, poverty and struggles evoked most recently in the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The region was always susceptible to natural disasters, rising back up on the strength of its people, its colorful history and its almost supernatural resilience. Clare L Martin seems very much a child of these legacies, internalized in unrelenting examination.
            The cover of the book is evocative, and artist Agnieszka Nowinska compels with deep reds and rich, vivid colors despite its ominous depictions of inverted imagery and swirling whirlpool warnings, and represents the poems well. Martin opens with the title poem of the book written “after Jo Ann Tomaselli’s ‘Birds & Fence’” (P. 8, epigraph). If you search this photograph, you will find a stark black and white picture of birds strung along a wire affixed to a weathered, wooden fence against a gray horizon. But the most remarkable thing about the photo is that these birds appear apart from one another, each perched in its own spot, together yet isolated. Martin states, “We only surmise the fence/contains a breadth/for one impenetrable/moment” (P. 8, ll. 4-7), the illusion of support and kinship evident. This is at the core of where these poems reside. There is a deep desire for meaning and connection that continues seeking despite overwhelming discouragements. Martin knows there are hidden answers within our shadow selves, and she searches for them relentlessly but, ultimately, with little resolution. From the sparse “The Hanging Woman” to prose poems like “Embellishments,” we see the futility of false absolutions for our transgressions. Deep catholic influences migrate from poem to poem in the disappointing promises of religious icons and symbols. In “Come, a Love Poem” she pleads, “Touch my brokenness/with your miracle/with your spit and mud, and I shall be healed” (P. 24, ll. 27-30). The plea is not to any deity but to a lover, in sexual union, a human connection, the poem inspired by photographer Brian Baiamonte’s “unclouded,” where clouds rest at the bottom of the photo like violent ocean waves with rays of sun breaking through above them. But these saviors rest on the surface and not in the depths of where we need to go to rescue ourselves. She observes, “We drop through this world/into dark awakening/we, the strong –hearted” (P. 13, ll. 19-21). And it takes a strong heart to plumb the subterranean wounds of our existence. Martin continues to search less than optimistically but forges ahead nevertheless while “Sobs bully our throats/Unique fears squirm in the gut/Only sex dispels the hour” (P. 25, ll. 18-20). And these poems are candidly sexual in shattering, visceral expression. These are no romantic visions. Martin fixes us with stark, vivid images such as “A dress is silent on the floor” (P. 14, l. 11), “…bruise-colored garments” (P. 17, l. 15) and perceived losses as in “Aftermath” when she states, “My old-woman womb/flutters with illusory children” (P. 19, ll.17-18) and “crown of thorns/my own heart/brambles and thorns/jag the aorta” (P. 21, ll. 23-26). Earthy and organic, the poems are palpably anatomical in references to bodies, blood and breath, the tools by which we interact and often measure meaning.
These are poems of mourning, regret, and loss. In “Phoenix,” a prose poem with an epigraph “for Kelly,” we have a woman as “Huntress, seductress, heathen and whore made new in body, new in word” (P. 39, ll. 15-16). We all return to the earth but, for Martin, it is as if we continually bury ourselves piece by piece even before our last breath. She has a way of seeing things in the present as already past and disappointing as she states in “Refuge” when she pleads: “Please, tonight, hold me/with the remembrance of light” (P. 43, ll. 8-9). In “Of the Gone Woman” we find a clue to Martin’s despair, the poem buried within the midpoint of the book. She names her mother “the Gone Woman” and remembers her mythological legacies and “bad magic” (P. 38, l. 14), stating almost accusingly, “Mother/you skimmed your finger/along my bone/and left a print/inside” (P. 38, ll. 18-22).  This poem is a scathing indictment of injurious maternal bequests and segues into further generations as in the poem “All This Remembering” where we meet a daughter:
 My only child
stares me down
with hatred
while a tube is snaked
down her throat. A black
foaming slick of pill
drains out of her mouth— (P. 50, ll. 11-18)
            It does not get much darker than this. Loss in subsequent relationships permeates the work in deep, thematic ways, expectations undercut by failure and bereavement: “We named ourselves after mountains/but forgot what shifted beneath us” (P. 40, ll. 17-18). In “Eiffel Tower, a Recollection of Paris, 1986” the iconic landmark is never visited as the narrator remains in bed with a stranger during her visit, resting in the shadows of the city, a reminder only “of what I missed” (P. 41, l. 3). And in “Refuge” she pleads, “Please, tonight, hold me/with the remembrance of light” (P. 43, ll. 8-9), the transitory, sad expectation of loss already anticipated. People appear as translucent outlines, not wholly flesh and grounded, gone before they actually leave as in “Seeing Through” when she observes, “Your shape embosses/the far line of the horizon” (P. 45, ll. 7-8). And in “The Artist and His Model” there is a cold, removed interaction between painter and subject, as if the replication of the model is more accessible and vivid than the actual woman.
            Poems such as “Thunder found me” are somewhat less original in expression but are more than compensated for in pieces like “What We Carry” that are sparse yet rich with imagery. There is a sense of constant opposition between people, desires and even the way Martin perceives the natural world as in “How it comes,” where she observes: “Today it came to me/as a bird; its wingbeat/light as a whisper, pecking/fruit in a verdant heart” (P. 36, ll. 21-24). We are alone yet still together like those birds on a fence, and our “shared transformation” seems to occur at the very point we leave our bodies. The poet “constellates with discorporate multitudes in harmonic undulations” (P. 61, ll. 29-30), as she states in “End Note” that concludes with “Holy holy holy” that is ultimately more of an imperative than a deterrent. Beyond the constant insistent hopelessness, there is “the Christ/that I need to believe in/that I am begging to take/a Lifetime’s desperation” (P. 21, ll. 17-20). But it is disconcerting, as if the narrator recognizes the shallowness of needing to believe as opposed to any genuine confidence or optimism.

Stark, unrelenting and uncensored pleas and imagery define these poems. Martin leaves nothing on the table, asking us to see the skin, bones, organs and very heart of darkness. She resides in the demi monde of duality, committed to the search, where those of us with resilient hearts and resoluteness will resolve to join her. .

You can find the book here: https://www.yellowflagpress.com/_p/prd15/4592458541/product/clare-l.-martin—seek-the-holy-dark


Karen Corinne Herceg graduated Columbia University where she studied with David Ignatow and Pulitzer Prize winner Phil Schultz.  She has featured at major venues with such renowned poets as John Ashbery and William Packard. Her new book of poems, Out From Calaboose, was released in November 2016 by Nirala Publications with edits by Linda Gray Sexton, bestselling author and daughter of two-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet Anne Sexton.  Her website is www.karencorinneherceg.com.

Tripping Over Memorial Day by David P. Kozinski

kozinski book
Review by g emil reutter
David Kozinski’s Tripping Over Memorial Day is a unique collection of poems combining urban grit and nature, of looking back and looking forward. In the poem Christmas 2010 Kozinski pens gentle realist imagery such as Half an hour before dark/there is no sailor’s delight on the horizon to The balm of forgetfulness/mutes the clang of language and in the last stanza, my father-in-law recites the gentlest hymn. /For him the most recent past dims/or disappears altogether/Our shaping moments/filtered, re-emerge into focus—His voice is quiet yet his observations are not sugar coated in this poem on aging.
In the poem First Christmas in Philadelphia Kozinski in the first three stanzas brings us into the grit of the city:  
Cut firs stood
in green fatigued
ranks on the corner
of the parking lot by the grocery
where gypsies hustled in the cold.
Every night the fire engines
roared down 44th Street
and teased
the news.
Forgotten are the reasons for this lullaby lush
with strings and sung clearly is paired
with finality of an abandoned
well, with the street smarted
calico I put to sleep
years later.
In a dark region
we are reunited, her white
fur gray with Sansom Street soot.
Into a Dark Land brings the reader face to face with immigration where only reflected light reaches corners/ baffled voices seep/through windowpanes and doorframes…the weight of sunrise and dusk/is an overcoat thrown off/and wings once dropped like sere leaves/unfold in a wakening field.
From the second stanza of Bailing:
my ancestors slip
in and out of trunks and portholes,
between the ribs and around the pipes;
            step on my tubes
of cobalt blue and mars black
with clodhoppers and grind
my bloodiest pencils into mud:
What Happened In Europe.
In Tripping Over Memorial Day he brings us into the muck in the last stanza with vivid images: It was swampy as Delaware/gets– dark, rubbery snakes/along the embankment, the river backing up like a clogged drain/birds restless in the dead air/under clouds that wouldn’t rain—a sermon proper for the abattoir.
Kozinski is an artist as well as a poet. He has given us a collection poems of not just words but of word painted from the palette of poet who has lived a full life and has keenly developed images such as this from the second stanza of Visitor:
Into the woods on a searing
summer morning it played
with reflections of overhanging boughs
and with my numbing hands
cupped so long in the slow motion water;
trailed across the sloppy stones
onto the mossy little island
I claimed as my own.
g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories. You can find him here:About g emil reutter