Current Poetry

“Chemotherapy and the Tasmanian Devil” by Jaclyn Piudik

“Through the Woods” by Sydney McKenna, watercolor, 30″ x 32″

An elephantine drip aglow
fortuitous bubble gum – pop – à la Bazooka Joe
Her appetite undergoes treatment for disarray
in the dark archives of University and College
Joan of Arc or Jones New York
have no place in these toxic gardens
Jab her with poetic justice, a heartfelt grunt
a rasp and a slow-borne growl of plasmatazz

The curative act [sic] becomes art
of the omnivorous kind, the hellishly tired veins

swig their pastel cocktail
a seeming infinity of cranberry masks

the sterile byways, the benign gleam
of cartoon English and wigged-outness

Looney music pacifies the buzz, the nauseated
floral-spin in the afterworld desert

Distant from eloquent drawl, she is so radiant
Shine on crazy diamond: omnia mutantur


Jaclyn Piudik is the author of To Suture What Frays (Kelsay Books 2017) and two chapbooks, Of Gazelles Unheard (Beautiful Outlaw 2013) and The Tao of Loathliness (fooliar press 2005/8).  Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including New American Writing, Columbia Poetry Review, Burning House, Barrow Street and Contemporary Verse 2.   She received a New York Times Fellowship for Creative Writing and the Alice M. Sellers Award from the Academy of American Poets. Piudik has edited three collections of poetry for award winning Canadian publisher Book*hug. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from the City College of New York, as well as a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Toronto.

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“Ten and Two” by Melanie Perish

“Rapture in the Postmodern Era” by Sydney McKenna, Oil on canvas, 60″ x 62″

In the first year, even after
she worked the steps
love was crazy as
driving under the influence.

Like that time the car started to slide,
slide across the double yellow lines
into the on-coming lane;
and she couldn’t remember which way
to turn the wheel.

No time for prayer beyond
God help me.
Her right foot down once
down twice on the brake,
then lifted, so her heart
could catch up.

Black gloved hands at ten and two
turned the wheel
toward the spin
out of hope the size of a tear drop
while life moved in geologic time.

When the spin stopped
the car pointed in the right direction
in its own lane; and again
she lived by minutes and inches.
With the car, with any new person
she could have sworn
she was going slowly enough.


Melanie Perish lives in Reno, NV and commutes regularly to Bryan, TX, Northern, CA, and Santa Fe, NM.  She is a member of Poets & Writers and Alcoholics Anonymous. She is old and sometimes crabby and does not care that she’s just broken her anonymity.  Her poems have recently appeared in the Austin International Poetry Festival anthology, DiversityThe Avocet, Brushfire, and Emerging Poets (Z-Publishing, 2018). Her poetry collection Passions & Gratitudes was published by Black Rock Press in 2011. She is currently working on a second collection. She is grateful for the generosity of other poets and writers, her history with women’s writing workshops, her online writers exchange, and the current poetry workshops she participates in. She is indebted to small press publications, little magazines, and on-line publications because she knows how much effort these require.

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“The Hippocratic Oath” by Melissa McKinstry

“A Gentle Lifting” by Sydney McKenna, oil on canvas.

The DNR rests on my desk.
I’ve signed it in my mind
over and over for 21 years,
but only once with a pen
and a witness, and the father
of my son, a child
tangled in a dysfunctional genome
for no particular reason. Every
day since his birth has felt like
a penance, and more recently,
a rebellion against
the doctors who want
to put another hole in him
but don’t want to talk about
his life or ours.
But, this evening
the garden is a rose window,
and I confess uncertainty
in its glow and the exhale
of the canyon.
To practice singing
a big song from a small body
I listen to the goldfinches,
and my son clicks his tongue
in what may be a response.



Melissa McKinstry grew up on small farms outside of Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, learning how things grow and how people take care of each other in small communities. She is currently a student in the MFA poetry program at Pacific University. Her poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review and Quaint Canoe, EcoPoetry Washington, and is forthcoming in the first issue of Heirlock. She works to follow the advice of poet Joe Millar: “Sanctify yourself as a poet. Sit down and write every day.”
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“Diving In” by Jennifer Campbell

“Salt Run” by Sydney McKenna, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 36″

“Emerging research suggests that not one square mile of surface ocean anywhere on earth is free of plastic pollution.”  —Center for Biological Diversity

Diving to see coral and clownfish,
instead Snow White is submerged in trash—
a plastic bag becomes a jellyfish,
translucent floating shape shifter,
the spikes on a puffer fish jut out,
red and white striped straws stabbing its back.

Snow went to explore the sea life
and finds death, evidence
of a trillion crimes against purity.
The longer she lingers, the more
waste floats at her, disguised as fish.

After her first dive, she becomes
obsessed. The sea calls out to her
and she needs to see the unreal colors
of a right pink flipflop, neon applesauce pouch,
orange doll arm, fingers chewed with worry.
She finds it hard to return
to the surface, wonders how the mermaids
could have wasted so much time
with their useless song.


Jennifer Campbell is an English professor in Buffalo, NY, and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters. She has two full-length poetry collections, Supposed to Love and Driving Straight Through, and was a finalist in both the 2017 Fairy Tale Review Poetry Contest and the 2014 River Styx International Poetry Contest. Several of her poems appear in journals such as Pinyon Review, Little Patuxent Review, The Healing Muse, Sow’s Ear, Comstock Review, Pennsylvania English, Saranac Review, Oyez Review, and Fugue, and her work is forthcoming in the AROHO Waves Anthology.

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