Monday, 31 December 2018


To Gert

by Sandy Rochelle


She walked about our lives
with the delicacy
of a petit fours
and left footprints
too big to fill;

She etched her way
into our lives
with the unconscious skill
of a Picasso;

Warm smile, gracious hands,
aproned dress—
she gave and yet left enough
for herself to store;

Her smile is remembered
and her voice is heard
in quiet persistence
whenever one confronts
gentleness, a shadow,
a sunset—
or love.


* * * * *

Sandy Rochelle is a poet-actress and filmmaker. Individual publications include: Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press/ Formidable Woman, Connecticut River Review, West Wind Review, Spirit in the Words, and Tuck Magazine. Her book of poetry, Soul Poems, was published by Finishing Line Press. Sandy is the recipient of the Autism Society of America's Literary Achievement Award. She has the honor of being named, New York State, ''Mother of the Year.'' Website:  http://sandyrochelle.com

Sunday, 30 December 2018


I know it shows how much he cares

by Tina Cole

You have broken all the pieces in my head
an innocence that never knew itself for sure,
a nightmare buried deep in layers of dread

and twisted it until it bled.
When stars were spinning, you called me immature,
you have broken all the pieces in my head

just the sight of me makes you see red.
You keep me in your pocket tight, secure,
a nightmare buried deep in layers of dread.

Six months gone, I should have fled,
still you bludgeon me with bitch and whore.
You have broken all the pieces in my head

then bound them tight with jealous thread
and left me anxious, insecure,
a nightmare buried deep in layers of dread.

It shows how much he cares, the voices said.
Love’s meant to hurt, they whispered, just before
you broke the little pieces in my head
a nightmare buried deep in layers of dread.


* * * * *


Tina Cole is a retired education consultant who lives in rural Herefordshire. She delights in poetry that speaks about relationships and how people manage their inner worlds. Her collection – I Almost Knew You – published in 2015 deliberately brings those relationships into view. Other poems have been published in U.K. magazines and journals such as, (Mslexia, Aesthetica & Decanto), one in The Guardian newspaper and in several recent anthologies. In 2018 she won third place in the Army – Writing Armistice National Competition and second place in the Canterbury Poet of the Year. She is the organiser of the Children’s Poetry Competition; poetryintenbury.org.


Saturday, 29 December 2018


Conjuring Connections

by Katherine L. Gordon


A sadness creeps through me
in the grey sky-lid over earth barely morning,
salt tears of body and spirit.
I can never re-awaken in my old home
where cliff and woods sighed
with a faith in time’s river of eternity,
ever a bush, ever a bird,
a coyote basking in the moon
as generations renewed but remained the same,
old and young a blend in every entity.
Here I cannot find the connection.
I feel in every fibre
that I am not made
of halls and elevators,
not the shadows of once-people
I rarely see.
It is the walks into wilderness that save me.
Each day I find a new path
for there are woods surrounding
this rude intrusion into former forest.
I need to melt again
into the living earth
where dwells my pure core of being.


* * * * *

 "Conjuring Connections" is from Katherine L. Gordon's new poetry collection Caution: Deep Water. http://www.hmspress.ca/deepwater.html. The collection deals with the shock of leaving one’s home for the cultural phenomenon of retirement homes, expensive ghettoes for the vulnerable elderly.


Katherine L. Gordon is a rural Ontario poet, publisher, judge, editor and reviewer, working to promote the voices of women poets around the world, as they are now flowering into acclaim.  She has many books, chapbooks, anthologies and collaborations with fine contemporaries whose work inspires her.  Her poems have been translated and awarded internationally. Latest books: Piping at the End of Days, Valley Press, and Caution: Deep Water which was released by HMS Press, London, Ontario in November 2018. 

Friday, 28 December 2018


Knowing Leaves

by Katherine L. Gordon


Leaves used to make patterns
on my valley windows,
embrace exchanged
energy reciprocal,
trees nodded tresses to me
as I walked by
touching familiar branches.
Now leaving blinded windows
I wend through formal gardens
where bushes are bound in tight
controlled foliage,
shapes curtailed.
I slip a hand beneath their corsets
into softer struggling skin
and feel a wild heart
waiting for release
to stretch unfettered
into jubilant sun-coaxed excess.
I empathise.


* * * * *

"Knowing Leaves" is from Katherine L. Gordon's new poetry collection Caution: Deep Water. http://www.hmspress.ca/deepwater.html. The collection deals with the shock of leaving one’s home for the cultural phenomenon of retirement homes, expensive ghettoes for the vulnerable elderly.


Katherine L. Gordon is a rural Ontario poet, publisher, judge, editor and reviewer, working to promote the voices of women poets around the world, as they are now flowering into acclaim.  She has many books, chapbooks, anthologies and collaborations with fine contemporaries whose work inspires her.  Her poems have been translated and awarded internationally. Latest books: Piping at the End of Days, Valley Press, and Caution: Deep Water which was released by HMS Press, London, Ontario in November 2018. 


Thursday, 27 December 2018


Authors Behaving Badly
by
Kris Neri

As Charles Manson once said, “Are people strange, or am I just crazy?” Call me na├»ve, but as a published author myself, I assumed other authors must interact with booksellers as courteously as I do. I’ve always believed intelligence and unusual sensitivity to be typical traits among those who write. For the most part I’ve found that to be true. But in my time as a bookseller, I’ve discovered that, for a fairly substantial minority, common sense among authors is not as common as you might think.
So here are a just a few of the no-no’s I’ve observed that the authors among you, and those who hope to be, might want to avoid:
*Don’t threaten the bookseller. Even before we opened our doors, someone wrote to say, “I have many friends in that area, and I’m going to send them all to your store to buy my books. But if you don’t carry them, they’ll never shop there again.” Now I like threats as much as the next person, but that one got my back up. I decided they would sell snow cones in hell before we’d carry those books. To date, nobody has asked for one.
*Don’t expect the bookseller to take a sacrifice for you. This advice is directed to the self-published and those published by presses that don’t offer traditional terms to the trade. Someone emailed us recently to say she was published by a small press and asked if we could host an appearance for her. I told her to send a copy of the book, and I mentioned if it wasn’t available through traditional outlets, she would have to provide it on consignment at a 40% discount. For a store to take less means they must sell that book at a loss.
The “small press” turned out to be iUniverse, a self-publishing outlet that only offers a 20% discount and doesn’t allow for book returns — two conditions that make it impossible for most stores to carry their books. Still, the book was well written, if filled with questionable story choices. But when I offered to give her an appearance, she thought it was time for negotiations. “I just bought a $32,000 truck,” she wrote in an email, “I can’t give you 40%. I need to make money from this book.”
Okay, let me take a moment here to laugh my butt off at that idea. I wish I could say this was an isolated case, but it’s happened too many times. They always seem to enjoy a more lavish lifestyle than I do and they act as if I’m unreasonable for not being willing to subsidize it. (How can one universe have so many centers?) And it’s always for a book that people are not breaking down the door to get. Every spot on a bookstore shelf is a space that could just as easily go to someone else. When it’s a book of marginal interest, that’s a gift. If they have any issue with anyone, it should be with publishers who aren’t professional enough to understand how other books are sold, and price and sell their books accordingly.
* If the store needs something from you to insure your event will be a success, don’t make it impossible for the bookseller to get it. One of our local newspapers will only run artwork that’s of fairly high resolution. Often when we manage to line up prominent coverage in the local paper, I have to ask the author for high resolution artwork, because what’s on their website is too low. Yet too often the author who was so eager to book the date will say, “Can’t you get it somewhere else? I don’t have time to do that for you.” For me? I could just as easily transfer that coverage to the author appearing the next day. Every author should actually have a media page on their website, with good quality cover art, photos and easy-to-use biographical information. But too few do.
You know who to contact at your publisher, I don’t. If a publicist set up the gig, naturally, I would contact her for what I need. But if an author sets it up, who should I ask when I need something? Why wouldn’t you make it easy for me? Sometimes I suspect their resistance stems from the fact that they don’t understand what I’m asking for. If you don’t know what “high resolution” means, ask someone. Why cut yourself off from free publicity because you're too embarrassed to admit you’re techno-phobic?
* If you don’t read, keep your mouth shut. I assumed that, like me, everyone who writes is also a reader. Man, was I wrong! Incredibly strong numbers of published authors display no interest in any book without their own names on the cover. Okay, that’s their business, and in my opinion, their loss. But why would anyone who hopes to sell copies of their books share that fact with the members of their audience. Yet they brag about it, displaying superior contempt for those who are so uncool as to still read. Then they’re surprised when those uncool people don’t choose to buy their books.
Maybe that’s why so few authors buy books in the stores in which they appear. What would they do with them?
* Don’t tell them where they can buy books cheaper. Some authors who do read will note for their audience all the covers of books in our bestseller section that they have read. But they don’t stop there. Oh, no. They share how much less they paid for those books in Costco, the supermarket, or used on Amazon. And then they’re surprised when someone asks how little their book is going for used on the Internet.
* Don’t treat a bookstore like it’s a free swap meet. A surprising number of authors have discovered that they can make more money selling their own copies of their books direct to the store’s customers. We learned that the hard way, when an author seized a moment alone with a customer to sell her own copy of her book for cash, rather than the ones we had stocked. But we’re still surprised by how many need a reality check. A bookstore has fixed overhead expenses and also invests a considerable sum into every store event. Naturally, we all hope for good sales during the event, but when it doesn’t happen, that doesn’t justify the author trying to pick a few bucks from the bookseller’s pocket. All that guarantees is that you’ll never get another signing at that store, and that your books will be shipped back immediately, robbing you of the sales of those signed copies might have garnered after the event.
Well…you get the idea. Authors should display the same level of courtesy to booksellers that they show in every other area of their lives. And if they aren’t polite and considerate — they should learn how to do be.
Please understand that most of the authors who visit our store are great! They’re considerate, fun, and they see booksellers as their partners in the book-selling process. But the numbers of rude, thoughtless authors are higher than I would have imagined. Wouldn’t you think that, if they aren’t naturally courteous, they’d be more practical? It’s hard to get published, hard to stay published. Why sabotage the efforts of the people who stand between you and your readers? Some days I think it would just be easier to sell “Authors Behaving Badly” videos on late night TV.


* * * * *

"Authors Behaving Badly" was first published on Kris Neri's blog https://femmesfatales.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/09/authors_behavin.html

Kris Neri writes the humorous Tracy Eaton mysteries, featuring the daughter of eccentric Hollywood stars, and the Samantha Brennan & Annabelle Haggerty magical series, featuring a questionable psychic who teams up with a modern goddess working in the FBI. Her novels have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards; she is a three-time nominee for the Lefty Award for humor, and her latest magical novel, Magical Alienation, won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for fantasy. She has published some sixty-plus short stories, and is a two-time Derringer Award winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for her short fiction. A former bookseller, Kris and her husband Joe owned The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona, AZ for ten years.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018


Queen Bee

by Tina Cole

I live on the top floor in a south facing
room, almost hexagonal, with buttercup
walls and loudly sing, Yellow Bird,
in a voice mellifluous with an electric lisp

like a buzz. My beehive hair is stacked
in a network of blonde spun candy,
a faint smell of lemon lingers in my bathroom
and clots of hair block the sink like molten

amber. Today I am magnificent in black
velvet and saffron silk, I have bought
honeyed cake for the men who will line up
to do my bidding.


* * * * *


Tina Cole is a retired education consultant who lives in rural Herefordshire. She delights in poetry that speaks about relationships and how people manage their inner worlds. Her collection – I Almost Knew You – published in 2015 deliberately brings those relationships into view. Other poems have been published in U.K. magazines and journals such as, (Mslexia, Aesthetica & Decanto), one in The Guardian newspaper and in several recent anthologies. In 2018 she won third place in the Army – Writing Armistice National Competition and second place in the Canterbury Poet of the Year. She is the organiser of the Children’s Poetry Competition; poetryintenbury.org.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018


christmas truck

by tree riesener


that year the tree 

redolent of dark damp forest
with flickering lights through the long darkness
intensified endless waiting of a physical intensity

if I ripped open all the windows and doors
of the advent calendar could I collapse time

rich with ginger cinnamon frankincense myrrh
cakes preserved in damp rum-soaked cloth
promised a faraway sugar-sated, drunken feast

I tore small unseen holes 
in the few visible forbidden packages from distant aunts

then one evening my father
little to do with our unimportant children’s lives
came home with a small narrow cardboard box
said this is to help you wait 

for a little girl who loved knives baseball ponies
a wind-up truck you could zip across the room
a special gift from daddy’s hands
meant I had been seen heard meant I was

for many years
first in my old wooden toy chest
then in a carved keepsake box
along with a feather from an angel’s wing
a lace bag of lavender 
a grandmother’s silver thimble
a rock from the bay of fundy
my wedding ring
the sturdy little truck survived

now the gears underneath my half are locked with rust
but the wheels still turn 
examples of how we age in parts
the driver printed on the yellow metal 
endlessly holds the steering wheel to nowhere
on the dark roadbed of my desk

the other half in a brass-trimmed oak box
has been underground for many years
I slipped it 
filled with a rolled-up good-bye 
into his pocket 
before they pulled the crocheted afghan up
screwed the lid down

he left my life 
pretty much as he had lived in it
unaware of who I was or anything I needed
except for that one time
but we’re forever bound by the truck like an icon
a two-way mirror a ball of string for the labyrinth
a path running forward and backward
illumination in darkness and darkness in light





* * * * *

"christmas truck" was first posted here on January 7, 2018. 

Tree Riesener is the author of Sleepers Awake, a collection of fiction, winner of the Eludia Award (Sowilo Press), The Hubble Cantos (Aldrich Press), EK (Cervena Barva Press) and Angel Fever, Triple No. 5, (Ravenna Press). Three previous chapbooks are Liminalog, Angel Poison and Inscapes. Her website is http://www.treeriesener.com. She is on Twitter and Facebook and loves to hear from readers.

Monday, 24 December 2018


Song of Everything
by Oonah V Joslin

Sapling opened his branches and stretched up towards the light. On the forest floor everything was dark and needle still. He could hear water babbling non-stop.
“What is that noise, Mother?” he asked the tall spruce who guarded him.
“It’s Brook, Sapling, dear.”
“What does it say?”
“It tells of what it has seen and asks where it is going.”
“Who is it asking, Mother?”
“It asks the converging waters and the stony river bed.”
“And they tell it?”
“They tell it what they know.”
“What do they know, Mother?”
Sapling’s mother sighed in the wind. She wished she had all the answers. “Don’t ask me. I speak only to the earth, rain and wind.”
***
When springtime came, birds perched in Sapling’s arms and made nests all around the forest; and they sang.
“What are they singing, Mother,” he asked.
“They are singing love songs and lullabies, dearest,” answered Spruce, “and songs about lands far away.”
“Do you know the words, Mother?”
“Alas no, for I only speak to the wind that carries them.”
***
Sapling grew taller daily. He could see way into the forest now, to where shafts of light streaked through the canopy and onto the floor and wild flowers rampaged in colourful clouds of blossom. He could smell their perfume and hear the bees, busy with excitement, ruffling petal skirts.
“What do bees sing about, Mother?”
“They sing about pollen and honey and love. All the sweetest things in life.”
“And the flowers?”
“Flowers don’t sing, Son.”
Sapling looked at the bright blooms of the forest, and he could see why — flowers were indeed loud enough, in silence.
***
Down in the deciduous wood, the first leaves turned to yellow and red. The flowers, birds and bees were mostly gone. Sapling longed to be as tall as his mother, as tall as Fir and Pine, as tall as Douglas and Conifer. 
***
Snowflakes crinkled as they settled all around him and he held his branches out stiffly to catch a few and admire their lace. Even the darkness became light. The moon played an ever-changing chorus of shadows over the snowflakes and they reflected harmonies of deep blue and purple until the rosy pink of dawn.
But Sapling did not like the song the morning brought. He heard men with harsh voices and a zinging sound cut through the air. It made him quail. “What song is that, Mother,” he asked.
Spruce heard the buzz-saw too and the crack of wood. She caught the sweet, sad scent of freshly cut bark. “That is the song of death, Sapling. Sooner or later all fall or are cut down.”
“When, mother?”
“None can tell.”
They watched as the handsomest tree in the forest crashed to the ground and was hauled away.
“What happens when we fall, Mother?”
“Some say we burn. Others say we go to a beautiful place where all is joy and light, feasting and songs.”
“Do you believe that, Mother?”
“I wish it might be so.”
***
The men with harsh voices came closer. 
“Too small ‘d’you think?”
“Nah, we can take the little’uns root and all. They fetch a good price.”
They smeared an X and an R roughly on the barks.
“I wish we could fly away, like birds,” said Sapling.
“It wouldn’t help. Even birds must learn that song,” said Spruce.

* * * * *
"Song of Everything" was first published in Every Day Fiction, http://www.everydayfiction.com/song-of-everything-by-oonah-v-joslin/#comments
Oonah V Joslin is poetry editor at The Linnet’s Wings. She has won prizes for both poetry and micro-fiction. Her book Three Pounds of Cells ISBN: 13: 978-1535486491 is available online from Linnet’s Wings Press and you can see and hear Oonah read in this National Trust video. The first part of her novella A Genie in a Jam is serialised at Bewildering Stories, along with a large body of her work (see Bibliography). You can follow Oonah on Facebook or at Parallel Oonahverse https://oovj.wordpress.com/.

Sunday, 23 December 2018


The thirty-first Moon Prize for the December 22, 2018 full moon goes to Mara Buck's haunting prose piece "The Woman Down the Road." May we all heal from fear and confusion soonest on our different sides of the fence.



The Woman Down the Road

by Mara Buck


There is a woman, lives in the trailer park down that side road by the lightning-blasted oak, beyond the Shell station. She has a Trump sign in front of her trailer and her trailer is festooned with forever Christmas lights. Some still light up; most don’t. She is anxious about a lot of things so she smokes generic filters and she has I don’t know how many kids and her nose looks like it’s been broken more than once.

I’ve seen her sweeping up at night at the Walmart in town. I doubt she earns back her cigarette money, but she can use her employee discount for the kids’ clothes. She needs Hillary’s presidency more than you or I, but the saddest thing is, she doesn’t know it, may never know it. She’s afraid Hillary will come and take that Taurus handgun right out from under her pillow. She ordered it online, liked that the name was the same as her birth sign. If she loses the gun, how can she sleep at night? Then what’ll she do if her husband comes back? She’s got a restraining order but that never stopped him before. Then it’ll be Hillary’s fault, just like Mr. Trump says. Hillary will take away her job and give it to some damn immigrant. Hillary will take her food stamps and give them to some Muslims who will rape her in her trailer while she watches her stories, and she won’t have her gun because Hillary will have taken it. Mr. Trump will fix it all. She’ll be secure with Mr. Trump. He’s promised.

The woman has no name because she’s a stereotype, but she’s real enough. I live in rural Maine where there are many women like this, women without a future, whose kids trudge down the same muddy road to the same trailer they’ll inherit one day. I’m her friend, but she’ll never know that.

I myself am just a shout away from that trailer. I live below the poverty line because I spent my life savings saving my life from cancer, despite insurance, so I have to shop at the Walmart even though I hate it and wish I could boycott it. I don’t smoke and I don’t have kids, but I admit there are times when a gun under the pillow might make me sleep easier. Maybe not. Probably not. I’m much better educated, but I’m not far away from this woman. And I would guess many of us live closer to her than we’d like to admit.

So I dedicate my no-Trump vote to her and to all those women in all those trailers, in all those cheap rental units, and in all those houses with the peeling paint and the mismatched siding. To all those without the education to crawl out of their holes. To all those who’ve pinned the hopes of a lifetime onto a shifty con-man who sells the snake-oil of hate, who promises to make the future great for himself and his kind, who waves the gilded carrot of prosperity—while the woman in the trailer sinks deeper into the surrounding mud, while her Christmas lights flicker out one by one. 


Epilogue: Now the election of our lives has ended and we still stagger with the shock. Despite the cuts in services, the loss of jobs, the rancor and the hate and the groans of the dying earth, the woman in the trailer has recently posted a crudely illustrated sign “Trump can grab my P….” Even the resounding message of the midterm elections has had no effect on this woman. Her sign is a bit more weathered, but today she has hung fresh Christmas lights to illuminate the message.

I swallow hard and I drive on into darkness, feeling that I’ve lost a friend I never had.


* * * * *

"The Woman Down the Road" was first published on 10/23/16 at http://dedicateyournotrumpvote.blogspot.com.

Mara Buck writes and rants in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. News Flash—2018 winner of The Scottish Arts Club Short Story Prize! Other recent firsts include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Poetry Prize, The Binnacle International Prize. Awarded/short-listed by Faulkner-Wisdom, Hackney, Balticon, Confluence, and others. Publications include Hektoen International Medical Journal, HuffPost, Crack the Spine, Blue Fifth, Pithead Chapel, Tishman, Whirlwind, and numerous print anthologies. Current projects include the ubiquitous novel and a collection of strange stories of Maine. 


Sunday, 16 December 2018

Writing In A Woman's Voice is now on Winter Solstice break and will resume on December 23, 2018. The latest Moon Prize will also be announced then - a mere day after this year's magical 13th full moon.

Saturday, 15 December 2018


Fling

by Sarah Thursday


She leaps
paws up in body fling.
Her victim lies heavy and low.
She is weightless and intent—aim.
There is no hesitation in her bound,
no think—no worry of outcome, only leap.
Only arch over. She is absent
of knowing words like pain,
like regret, like sorrow.
She is arm-swaddled
and cheek-kissed.
All her falls have led to opportunity—so she leaps.
Each claw slightly spread from the other.
She wills her hind end to carry her
attack up. It will arrive
eventually. That need
to weigh consequences.
Until then, she leaps.


* * * * *

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.     

Friday, 14 December 2018


August Tango

by Judy Katz-Levine


You're a forgiving cypress,
write songs named after our arguments.

We peel the mango in sultry twilight.

Lips before a thunderstorm.

Comes tomorrow, a door opens.
Luminous text-faces speak.

The caring moment after the operation -
that happened a year ago.

Brooding.

The luminous flesh of the mango.

There's a voice inside my voice.
It comes when no one watches.

An August tango remembers.

It was a year ago, and the operation lingers
in its effects.

Once we were taking our son to the rotating tire
at the playground.

Now he's peeling mangos for us.


* * * * *

"August Tango" is from Judy Katz-Levine's new book The Everything Saint, was first published in Ekleksographia.

Judy Katz-Levine's new book, The Everything Saint, has just been published by Word Press (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.