Tuesday, 19 February 2019


The thirty-fourth Moon Prize goes to Judy Katz-Levine's prose poem "For the children taken away," mesmerizing in its sweeping simplicity.


For the children taken away

by Judy Katz-Levine


I spent the day watching the way hour by hour came, like children imprisoned. I could not shake the image of a girl under a mylar blanket, crying. I held the afternoon like a father who is grieving for his daughter; the way we fight cruelty, sometimes with such inner resistance, wherever we are, we are holding each other in this. Loneliness that breaks bones, a fall, the kids aren't forgotten for one split second. You hear a blind boy call for his mother.


* * * * *

Judy Katz-Levine's new book, The Everything Saint, was published by Word Press late 2018 and is available on Amazon. Of the book, the publisher says "The Everything Saint shows us the holy in the ordinary, and Judy Katz-Levine is a faithful guide to such wonders." Her recent poetry and translations have appeared in Writing In A Woman's Voice, Miriam's Well, Salamander, Blue Unicorn, Ibbetson Street, Event Horizon, Peacock Journal, and many other venues. Also a jazz flutist, she enjoys playing at jam sessions.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Avoidance

by Sarah Thursday


Anything but sit-still
Anything but pencil-to-paper
tell you how I am feeling.
Wash dishes, counters,
deep corners of the sink.
Find every divot
where the paint didn’t stick.
Paint over in different directions
view across angles of lights.
Call a friend, talk, eat, let me
get you a glass, pull up a chair,
cut the grass, make a list,
sharpen the pencils, fold
all the towels, shake out the rugs,
Pet the cat, the cat, the cat.
She needs to be analyzed,
spoken for, comforted.
Shake and shift twist shake
and shift twist. Anything but
sit-still.


* * * * *

Sarah Thursday, in addition to writing poetry, co-hosted 2nd Mondays Poetry Party, ran a poetry website called CadenceCollective.net, and founded Sadie Girl Press as a way to help publish local and emerging poets and artists. She has been published in many fine journals and anthologies, interviewed by Poetry LA, and received a 2017 Best of the Net nomination for “To the Men who told me my Love was not enough.” Her newest poetry book, Conversations with Gravel, is available at SadieGirlPress.com. Find and follow her to learn more on SarahThursday.com, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.     

Sunday, 17 February 2019


Hauling Cots

by Jeannie E. Roberts


            One must imagine Sisyphus happy . . . the struggle itself towards the heights
            is enough to fill a man's heart. ―Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"
            
Like King Sisyphus and his eternal bolder-rolling condemnation,
she couldn't help but contemplate her past, her naive decisions,

rebellious blunders, and impertinent mistakes. Had the gods
also arranged this Sisyphean effort? It came close, those months

of hauling and assembling cots. Some weeks seemed like an eternity.
Her pincher fingers would never be the same, nor would her hands,

arms, and back. Was her inner drive set for self-destruction?
Perhaps her outspoken words were the straws that broke the Greek

gods' backs, for she had entered an underworld of crying, screaming,
diapers, and unwieldy cots.

Greek myth has Sisyphus rolling a bolder uphill, only to watch
it roll back down. There’s no doubt that this endless undertaking

was laborious and repetitive, but was it futile?
During the downward spiral, one can imagine rest, even contentment,

for there's time to reflect upon the upward struggle. Like the rise
and fall of a wave or the inhale and exhale of breath, the struggle

itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's [or woman's]
heart. There may be joy, even divinity in the abiding day-to-day tasks,

including the hauling and assembling of cots, for children may nap,
and preschool teachers may muse, float in the ebb, for an hour or so,
or at least until the waves rise, awaken.


* * * * *

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four poetry collections, including The Wingspan of Things (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), Romp and Ceremony (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush (Lit Fest Press, 2015), and Nature of it All (Finishing Line Press, 2013). She is also the author and illustrator of Rhyme the Roost! A Collection of Poems and Paintings for Children (forthcoming from Daffydowndilly Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books, 2019) as well as Let's Make Faces!, a children's book dedicated to her son (author-published, 2009). She is Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs and a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.

Saturday, 16 February 2019


Not Really Relating

by Jeannie E. Roberts

               "Look within, for within is the wellspring of virtue,
                which will not cease flowing, if you cease not from digging."
                Marcus Aurelius

She recalls he was eleven, maybe twelve, when they’d last met.
Anticipating the depth and maturity of a middle-aged man,
her expectations dissolved upon hearing his critique: My god,
what happenedwhat happened to you? Your skin. Your face.

You used to be so gorgeous. Maybe Botox could help.
Despite his potential, he seemed to be a person with little verbal
filter, whose attachment to earthly things had gotten the best
of him. After his comments, he mentioned his fondness

for weightlifting. Demonstrating his skill, he picked her up,
added a robust bear hug and these conciliatory words: but you're
still sweet. Throughout the afternoon, he made troubling remarks
and as he continued down the path of belittlement,

she thought to herself, this is not the kind of company
I wish to keep, especially on my birthday. During their hike,
in the setting she used to call home, the woods appeared darker,
less inviting, it wasn't the fertile ground she’d remembered,

nor wished to remember, it was spoiled, not nearly as pretty.
Thinking about the complexity of our stories and how they often
carry heavy narratives, that October evening, she turned
to the unseen, the missing pieces, the broken and misshapen ones,

hoping that the puzzle might someday be repaired,
compassionately assembled and placed carefully back in its box.
Aligning herself, she visualized a place, a space, where another
kind of beauty exists, one that's aware of something other than

externals, a resonant, deep-seated well of potentiality, a reservoir
that has no knowledge of skin or surface, injury or wrongdoing,
nor any part of our temporal existence. She held this image,
concentrated on its healing properties, envisioned his essence

as kindness, a treasury of strength and goodness, grounded
in confidence, completely detached from self. Within this wellspring,
he appeared aquatic, embryonic, like a fetus prior to birth.


* * * * *

Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four poetry collections, including The Wingspan of Things (Dancing Girl Press, 2017), Romp and Ceremony (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush (Lit Fest Press, 2015), and Nature of it All (Finishing Line Press, 2013). She is also the author and illustrator of Rhyme the Roost! A Collection of Poems and Paintings for Children (forthcoming from Daffydowndilly Press, an imprint of Kelsay Books, 2019) as well as Let's Make Faces!a children's book dedicated to her son (author-published, 2009). She is Poetry Editor of the online literary magazine Halfway Down the Stairs and a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.



Friday, 15 February 2019


For the children taken away

by Judy Katz-Levine


I spent the day watching the way hour by hour came, like children imprisoned. I could not shake the image of a girl under a mylar blanket, crying. I held the afternoon like a father who is grieving for his daughter; the way we fight cruelty, sometimes with such inner resistance, wherever we are, we are holding each other in this. Loneliness that breaks bones, a fall, the kids aren't forgotten for one split second. You hear a blind boy call for his mother.


* * * * *

Judy Katz-Levine's new book, The Everything Saint, was published by Word Press late 2018 and is available on Amazon. Of the book, the publisher says "The Everything Saint shows us the holy in the ordinary, and Judy Katz-Levine is a faithful guide to such wonders." Her recent poetry and translations have appeared in Writing In A Woman's Voice, Miriam's Well, Salamander, Blue Unicorn, Ibbetson Street, Event Horizon, Peacock Journal, and many other venues. Also a jazz flutist, she enjoys playing at jam sessions.


Thursday, 14 February 2019


Happy Valentine's Day from Writing In A Woman's Voice with


Star Sky Series * 8

by Marina Kazakova


I see you from afar,
a silver star,
a figure in a scarf,
serious and nonchalant!
I am flying up the stairs,
passing through cars and stares,
landing into your arms -
wild and stunned.
I imagine all of your gestures
and how you’ll be saying
words and expressions,
and how all the people around you
will dare to be themselves.
And then I think
how serenely you’ll be walking
towards the park,
where we hire a blue boat,
how patient you are
preparing to embark,
how perfectly reasonable you are,
and yet how your being calm
is always unexpected to me.
By mid-lake we become remote,
we see noone,
we are as detached as a Tolstoy’s novel
or the Hermitage.
By the end of my dream,
I think we shall have to spend one autumn
in Siberia some day:
yards and yards of fresh snowflakes,
of snowlace,
of snowsilk,
and  all seems to be washed and ironed
under the Siberian silver stars.
I see you from afar,
my silver star…


* * * * *

Marina Kazakova (b. Gorky, 1983) is a writer, poet and audio-visual artist in Belgium. Published internationally in magazines and journals (Three Rooms Press' Maintenant, AntiNarrative Journal, Crannog), Marina is a frequent performer. She has been shortlisted at different poetry/film-poetry competitions and was awarded various prizes. She is author of verse novel Tishe...Piano, the film adaptation of which was shortlisted for International Short Film Festival Leuven 2013, Miami Indie Wise Festival 2018, XpoNorth Festival 2018, and got ‘The Best Narrative Short’ Award at the International Film Festival behalf Savva Morozov in Moscow in 2015. Her literature works deal to a large degree with confrontation with the past and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief. In addition to poetry, Marina has written essays and articles for such publications as The Word Magazine (Brussels), Culturetrip. com, Seanema.eu. Marina holds a Master in Public Relations and in Transmedia. Currently, she is Communications Officer at ‘Victim Support Europe’(Brussels) and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts “Lyric Film-Poem. A research on how the unique characteristics of lyric poetry can be expressed in film” at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven).


Wednesday, 13 February 2019


Nocturnal Entrance

by Judy Katz-Levine


One year I saw a white toad,
another year the deer came
and gnawed our weeping cherry tree.

I thought you did the tearing but it was
the deer. You tried to save the tree
and it blossomed with white stars
and leaves like verdant lips.

One day I saw mourning doves on the wire.

Then driving home in the late afternoon
in the sunset an osprey rose
into the cypress by the park.

I thought you knew, but you didn't you
were busy inventing with wires.

One summer I saw a black snake
scissoring the water the runes
of ripples spelled my name.


* * * * *

Judy Katz-Levine's new book, The Everything Saint, was published by Word Press late 2018 and is available on Amazon. Of the book, the publisher says "The Everything Saint shows us the holy in the ordinary, and Judy Katz-Levine is a faithful guide to such wonders." Her recent poetry and translations have appeared in Writing In A Woman's Voice, Miriam's Well, Salamander, Blue Unicorn, Ibbetson Street, Event Horizon, Peacock Journal, and many other venues. Also a jazz flutist, she enjoys playing at jam sessions.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019


First Night in the New Bed

by Judy Swann


I am for the first time ever in bed
at the center of neutrality, an infinity
of thoughtlessness and peace,
I am the saint of sleep.
No longer a shopper going begging
from place to place, my brain is in bed
and its nectar has started to run
into the conch of my heart.
Swoop! a dolphin kick of the soul,
and my body, which is never to be eaten
and does not need repair, hums.
I am the giver in every sense
in this bed and even
God, who is nearby, doesn’t kill me.


* * * * *


"First Night in the New Bed" is part of Judy Swann's new collection Fool (Kelsay Books 2018)

Judy Swann renounced her car several years back and is bicycle commuter in gorgeous Ithaca, NY.  She is a poet and essayist who publishes fairly frequently, both in print and online. Her book of poetry, Fool (Kelsay Books) was released in December, 2018. Her book of essays on the cartoon superhero Stickman (John Young) is slated to appear in early 2019.

Monday, 11 February 2019


George Sand

by Judy Swann


I like to think about George Sand wearing trousers
and practicing free love, which confused the men,
because it was not promiscuous.
Her paramours have articles
in Wikipedia, but with their portraits in profile
you can't really see them.
When Sleep's satin fingers glide across
your eyelids¾or a man, pushing past your servant,
drops lightly to his knees beside you,
think of her. And think of her if they don't.
Don't be confused by her small feet;
they came from China, long before Perrault
and Grimm and Disney and Manolo Blahnik.
And she understood egotism so well
as a kind of retardation mixed with insanity
considered brilliant by so many today.
And she mastered the technical vocabulary
of the rural states: the person who grows hemp,
he who makes haystacks, who cares for the cows,
the person who is a master terrace builder,
and the young woman who has only just
begun to cover her hair.

* * * * *

"George Sand" is part of Judy Swann's new collection Fool (Kelsay Books 2018)

Judy Swann renounced her car several years back and is bicycle commuter in gorgeous Ithaca, NY.  She is a poet and essayist who publishes fairly frequently, both in print and online. Her book of poetry, Fool (Kelsay Books) was released in December, 2018. Her book of essays on the cartoon superhero Stickman (John Young) is slated to appear in early 2019.


Sunday, 10 February 2019


Butterfly Gift

by Francesca West


Scarred butterfly,
Your wings with so many holes.
I stopped to see if you could fly
And there you go.
Flower to flower
As though your wings have no problems.
You fly as though you’ve never encountered violence.

I see these holes in you and wonder
With my imperfect wings do I just need to flap harder?
Or forget the tears put there.
You live beautifully, so presently aware.
I’m glad our paths crossed
Because I too can live this way.

I followed the lilac’s scent
Leading right up to your display,
Of learning to practice the strength of endurance.
To remind myself harmful memory’s a hindrance.
The truth is I can choose fulfillment.
You do, so why be any different?
You teach me with what I survive
That I’m free to fly.

Now it’s time to embrace this life
Despite bewilderment we find.
You live with so many holes,
Showing so few signs.
So many chances to start again
And you’re always taking flight.

It's that you presently have nothing to fear
And that is the gift that I now hold dear.
My nostrils turned to devour
The scent of those passing flowers
And then you soared inside my mind.
I’ll never forget your existence,
You’re now alive for all of time.
Because my eyes perceived to let go of life’s stings
And live more truthfully,
Because with what I have,
These were never broken wings.


* * * * *

"Butterfly Gift" was first published in Silver City Quarterly Review.

Saturday, 9 February 2019


Gaia

by Francesca West


All knowing
Ever growing 
Soul of the Earth
Re-birthed in hurt
Forgotten, or worse
Revived
Only if I come alive
Hold these wounds
And call them mine

Friday, 8 February 2019


I killed him with love: Ode to a mouse

by Betsy Mars


I socked him away, 
safe from escape, 
with warmth 
to the touch and softness -
smelling of mouse
pellets and hay. 

Like a lucky rabbit foot
to stroke in the night 
when demons came
calling for me, he comforted,
but I slept right through
to the mourning  
He was cold 
and hard to the touch.   

In my guilt, I emptied  
the sock and left him 
rigid in the cage, 
To be discovered
and buried,  
along with my memory 
of inadvertent, mindless murder.   

At eight years old,
I learned that love could be lethal. 


* * * * *

"I killed him with love: Ode to a mouse" was first published by Cadence Collective and is also in Betsy Mars's new 2019 collection Alinea.

Betsy Mars is a southern California poet who is in a perpetual battle with change – finally coming to some kind of a truce, and at times even love and acceptance. She is an educator, mother, animal lover, and over-excited traveler. Her poetry has been published in a number of places, both online and in print, most recently in Sheila-Na-Gig, The Ekphrastic Review, and Red Wolf Journal. Writing has given her a means to explore her preoccupation with mortality and her evolving sense of self.

Thursday, 7 February 2019


I’ll Try Anything, Once

by Gabby Schenkelberg


Once, feeling very lost, I decided my chakras must be out of line
It's why I can’t see dizzying shapes or geometric patterns of love
So, burning a stick of sage, I frolicked around like an elf in the woods
Pushing out any thoughts of madness or insanity, I can be a yogi, too
Yoga was the answer for me, but I could never fully assimilate
Because, as it turned out, my ass couldn’t fit into those tight pants
And my brain was antagonized and called a Monkey Mind by
Zenned-out blondes in very tight pants who said I should read less
And occasionally I found a lot of joy in stuffing a juicy cheeseburger
Into my big-ass mouth and saying things like
Osho made yoga a cult ya know?
Needless to say, we decided we might be better off without each other
Now I’m concentrating my efforts on a new endeavor:
Dive Bar Trivia


Wednesday, 6 February 2019


Above It All

by Kelli J Gavin


You’ve been elevated
Above it all
You have been placed
In a position
Above it all
The rest doesn’t matter
It is just background noise
I may have placed you there
To protect you
To make sure no one else
Could ever touch you
Hurt you
Take you
From me
Above it all
Stay there
You’ve been elevated
Above it all


* * * * *

Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization and a small Jewelry Company.  Look for Kelli’s first book of short stories and poems in 2019. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter,  Writers Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Pleather Skin, Paper.Li, The New Ink Review, among others. 
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin