Dawn’s Wedding Day – by Robert Nisbet


Dawn’s wedding was a sloppy one maybe,
the usual pinks and gins and sentiment,
whole handkerchiefs of tears,
brothers and cousins in pinching suits
huddling to the rain-swept annexe for
a quiet fag. The uncle who’d already
that year spread his karaoke slice of
Sinatra’s My Way over a funeral
and two anniversaries, now, half-cut,
got in among the speeches.

After her husband’s accident, Dawn craved
simply to care for him, stayed up nights,
shivering with him at the fear of death.





Robert Nisbet taught English in grammar and comprehensive schools and then taught creative writing in Trinity College, Carmarthen, where he also acted as professor to exchange students over from the Central College of Iowa. He is the author of over 300 published poems.

Coffee – by Emilio Iasiello

For Maggie


Before you left, I said
you were too beautiful for me.
That much is still true.
The wonder I feel when you sit across
from me sipping coffee
is the same fear that claws up my spine
when I think of you in Guatemala now –
sharing the afternoon light with some guapo
street side, the espresso cup
pressed firmly between your capable fingers –
or maybe
drinking plain ol’ American
with another student
missing his girlfriend as much
as you miss me
a candle flame between you
its small confession in light –
discovering in a mistake of passion
that loneliness
is what’s uncovered with your hands,
its heightened breath on your neck,
a touch or two.
I know it’s foolish
but my life is spent thinking
one day, praying the next.
I stare at the stained ring
in my cup, the bitter grounds
stuck mercilessly to the bottom
and I suddenly think, hot,
black, as if there’s no better way
to torture myself.
When I drink coffee,
I’m really
trading one life for another.




Emilio has written two books: a collection of short stories, Why People do What They Do, and a nonfiction narrative, Chasing the Green. He has also written for the stage and screen and has had numerous works produced in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and London, UK. His film credits can be found here

Time to Vote – August Readers’ Choice Poem

In August these were the five poems that generated the most “buzz” with readers and are shortlisted for the monthly mug prize. Please vote and make a poet happy today.


The poll will close with the announcement of the winning poem on 17th September.



Baltimore – by Carlyn Flint


This city is an elder.

Her skin is cracked with crows’ feet,
her teeth are turning brown,
the vibrato in her voice
croaks out
a heavy velvet sound.

She still wears rusted brick,
colonial lace around her collar,
her nails are painted murals bright
to add a light
to squalor.

Her hair: a leafy afro
sprouting ringlets from her brain,
her veins the winding highways stained with
drip tattoos of dirt and rain.

I love to watch her wrinkle,
I love to watch her grey.
Unlike those teenage glamour queens,
she has very much more
to say.



Carlyn Flint is a poet and playwright originally from Baltimore, Maryland who now teaches creative expression at a Title 1 elementary school in North Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her work with children informs her writing and fuels her to be socially conscious with whatever she creates.

Birthday Song – by Kathleen Strafford


In the dark corridor
          I hear women
                singing in
                  pitches and tones
                        all their own
feeling their way through shadows
                       through the music
                        of epidurals
                             in this dissonance
I hear my dead mother’s melody
             soft from my daughter’s lips
                            its waves unravelling their DNA
                                       on our hospital walls
                                                              with interlocking shapes
                                                                         of crowning concertos
                                       Oh    what else can unzip
                                                                 the pain          of stretching skin
                                                                                  into pure song?




Kathleen Strafford is a student at Trinity University in Leeds studying for her MA  in creative writing.  She hopes her first collection of poetry will be published this coming year after graduation.  She has been published in magazines & online:  Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog, Fat Damsel, Ink Sweat and Tears, Panoply, and various anthologies.

Reverence – by Maximilian Heinegg


We keep no garden while the drought hammers
the yard to cinders. By day, rabbits stand
brazen in the clover, which means they number.
Here’s where we dug deep to uproot the invasive
Norway maple, where we spliced raspberry bushes
the spiders own, & where we planted a fig tree

to learn we don’t like figs, where the firewood
that has seen winter is seasoned into best burning,
but where a diligence of insects colonizes
beneath the wood’s brown tarp. What’s ends up
in the amber of our errors is the living
we did in the skin of the flaw. From the steps,

I see where the ice dams grew & poisoned the joist,
where the water sank down the railing & expanded,
but the cracked granite steps are our perpetual altar,
& these devotions are daily. We need no priest
to find the psalms or bend faith to reach us.
We are already singing the song we want to hear.




Maximilian Heinegg’s poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, December Magazine, and Columbia Poetry Review, among others. He teaches English in the public schools of Medford, MA. He is also a singer-songwriter whose records can be heard at www.maxheinegg.com