Ashok Niyogi

Papilio Polymnestor*

my mortal Pygmalion butterfly
behind me in lac and shellac debris
has learned to abandon
random colour shape form
for systematic undulatory reptilian locomotion
flexural waves that generate thrust and drag

‘What is that in thine hand? A rod.
Cast it on the ground.
And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent;
and Moses fled from before it.
Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.
And he put forth his hand, and caught it,
and it became a rod in his hand.’**

salamander spirit of fire
slimy poisonous fermented much ravaged
signals toxicity with cryptic colour
gives up limb for life
and undulates between mud and water
newts in the brandy of Ljubljana
slander sex and mucous in defense

‘in a dark place a rope is a snake
whereas there is nothing but rope’***
I invite you to dialogue mother earth
so that I can twist and turn
prevaricate this way and that
with bar charts and pie diagrams
while Nero fiddles and your rivers wither
in emaciated effluvial dance

why are crabs social climbers
and those covetous of Panamera cars
always caught
between the devil and the deep blue sea

*Papilio Polymnestor – the Blue Mormon butterfly common in India and Sri Lanka. Flies about at ground level.
**from Exodus 4 (KJV)
*** from Gaudapada’s (6th cen CE) Karika (notes) for the Maandukya Upanishad



For my American Grandaughters

my limbs reach way down
to pluck anaerobic flower

this intoxicates me
foul gas
sea beds under earth
insidiously continuous

I am happy that the skunk got to eat
and glands govern our wanton
thrashing flailing fledgling want
I must slant this sunlight
so that air does not dare disturb
supreme creative effort sans breath
now on exhibition by the boardwalk
in Yellowstone park



Ashok Niyogi is a wandering seeker after truth.  He was born in Kolkata in 1955 and graduated in economics from Presidency College. He lived and worked as an international trader in the USSR and Russia and his work involved extensive travel worldwide. He is now retired and lives in Delhi and California. He still travels hard and long and occasionally writes.Ashok has two books of poems REFLECTIONS IN THE DARK (A-4 Publications) – 2002 and TENTATIVELY (I-Universe) -2005. His poems have been published extensively in print and electronic journals worldwide. As Bhagirathananda, he has also written two books of essays – HENCE AN ENQUIRY INTO BRAHMAN (B B Graphic) – 2012 and MY YAJNA (Quills Ink) -2014.


Benedict Downing


‘We are the ones that forgot to speak ‘

what is youth

the upright flower
lies to forget the crying
no time in issue.

what is memory

stories of heart go
chains linchpin days of wonder
dawn smiles at the night.

what is old age

sensitive petals
fall out at lack of sunlight
cold weather, dry earth.



Benedict Downing  has written fiction, poetry since his adolescence.  He joined local community reading circles, workshops, and college literary groups and has published a handful of pieces: flash fiction and poetry, in literary sections of local newspapers or lit mags.  After college, he ventured into Freelance writing for his own spiritual enjoyment. He has two published books: a poetry book “Sidereal Reflux” (2011) and a novel “Epicrisis” (2014).

George Freek

On a painting by Ku K’Ai Chih

The clouds reveal cracks in the sky.
They warn me something is near.
Life is half pleasure, and half fear.
Like blades, sunlight falls to the earth.
It falls in yellow and crimson streaks.
High on the tallest mountains,
the clouds catch on distant peaks.
Slowly, I must walk behind my plough.
No way can I hurry my ancient cow.


On a theme by Li Po

Clouds stretch from the sky
to the lake. Gulls circle,
and drift quietly away.
Dead leaves fall from the trees,
and blow gently down the street.
Do they die with such ease?
A cold wind ruffles the water,
and a handful of weeds
in the strengthening breeze.
In her sick bed,
my wife stares at the wall.
I hear her groan.
When the river is ice,
she’ll be sleeping alone.


On a theme by Tu Fu

Night unfolds like a skein
of silk. The moon
hangs in the air
as an unformed thought.
Like this river which looks
so still. Time moves
with a will. I walk
alone in the dark.
I stare at the moon.
I hear the kuru-ku of a lark.
Stars glow like the eyes of gods.
Clouds drift by
like huge mushrooms.
I’m old, and know
I will die. But I pray
it will not be soon.



George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Belvidere, IL. His poetry has recently appeared in ‘The Lake'; ‘The Samizdat Literary Journal'; ‘The Stillwater Review'; ‘The New Plains Review'; ‘The Tower Journal'; ‘The Foliate Oak'; and ‘Literature Today’. His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; Lazy Bee Scripts; and Off The Wall Plays.

Peter Branson

The Hellfire Club

En route from school, no cause to stray, until
I’m curious one day, wanton, inspired.
Par-startled by the passing bell, inside,
that old shop door’s alive, an Angelus
of leaded panes that glow like traffic lights,
as saints and angels advertise from high
east windows bright, their blazing star behind.
Like incense, nostrils burn, heady, intense.
His shelves are flush, tobacco, pipes, cigars,
posh bloke, eternal flame, brass scales, cravat;
churchwardens too, their bowls like conkers when
first thumb-nailed from their horny, armoured pods.
White flesh, still tacky on my palms, turns grey
with doubt, like blood, a stain that won’t rub out.

The Big Man

Each sound’s an anvil blow, your shadow ground
deadhead and psychopath, “No Popery!”
the coup de grace, faith iron-cast, blinding, shrill.
Your scripture echoes nightmare from our past,
Old Testament, blood shod, the Orange fife
‘n’ drum, musket ‘n’ pike, the gore behind
the English Civil War, raw ethnic spite,
bombs in your wake, cursed, like a farrier’s thumb.
The fearful bleakness of your rhetoric
enthralling honest folk, you are Canute,
obsessed with Antichrist, flames round your feet,
until, to Chuckle Brother light relief,
miraculous, Good Friday sacrament,
Damascus Road, The Falls beyond belief.

Cook’s hawk

Accipiter gentilis: the goshawk
Extinct by the early 19th century, through predation, especially by ‘keepers, there are about 250 pairs in Britain: a.k.a. goosehawk or cook’s hawk, as of a size to take down pheasant and wildfowl for table.

I watch you, youngsters weaning, August, round
your tattered pile, star-crossed, pale wings as sheer
as butterflies. In early spring, old hands,
the climbing air your mixing bowl, toss hay
beyond the forest canopy, free dive,
to rise like bullets, rocket high, pole dance,
trace undulating pattern on the sky.
Where this is primal, home to lynx and bear,
or royal hunting ground for boar and stag,
or coppice (turner, hurdle-maker, sense
of charcoal on the breeze), you take the crown.
Your wits map four dimensions, scan for what’s
concealed, sort wood from trees, compelling gaze
and ravenous, space-time your thrall. You crave
the stir of pounding heart, convulsion gripped
through living flesh beneath your sabre feet,
that razor beak engorged. Wilderness-bound,
word-shy, nigh on impossible to reach,
when yeoman austringers fly you at geese,
you fight above your weight, those eyes ablaze.
Magnificent, old world, your piercing, blood-
crazed stare as chilling as a winter gale,
those who try hard enough, know how to look,
will find you here. Unheralded, secure,
no syndicate or keepers near, you thrive
where unperturbed. Your flying crucifix,
Apollo’s wake up call, the under-part
a vellum script of psalms, our smoking gun,
records your blanket, gibbet sacrifice,
for Adams dazzled by their fallen state.


Peter Branson’s poetry has been accepted for publication by journals in  Britain,  the USA, Canada,  Ireland, Australasia and South Africa,  including  Acumen, Agenda,  Ambit,  Anon,  Envoi,  The London Magazine,  Magma, The North, The Warwick Review,  Iota, The Frogmore  Papers,  The  Interpreter’s  House,  Poetry  Nottingham, SOUTH, The  New  Writer,  Crannog, THE  SHOp,  Rattle, The Raintown Review,  The Columbia Review,  The Huston Poetry Review,  Barnwood, Able  Muse Review and  Other  Poetry. His latest book, Red Hill, Selected Poems, 2000-2012, by Lapwing, Ireland, came out in May 2013

Doug Pugh



Percy can still remember
a vague shadow flickering
in the dull of embers ashing

how his belly was full in youth
his kindling the passion of belief, justice,
blatant truths, obvious answers

an unforgettable fire that blazed so hard
he could not contain the spill of bliss

it’s not forgotten
just stacked behind the bricks of days
mortared with experience and
the trowelled craft of logic,
the incessant point of time

he hears it smoulder
sometimes in the night
hiss, crackle, spit

turns over dissatisfied in his sheets
grinds his back against the wall
grubbing for some warmth in the winter of life

where embers still remember
a vague shadow flickering
in the dull of Percy’s ashing

Sic transit

unclothed we reveal our mask,
jet to an alien land.

by day we are the languid
sophisticates, bubbling in oils and soaking
in words, tanning our literati in display
in the sultry mangrove of night
we hunt, trace beads upon one another,
fork in a meal of madness, spice
between a stranger’s thighs

until we realise
carnal has no knowledge at all,
it’s just a series of hot, wet fucking
and that, hitting the spot,
is alright

and possibly all we need
is heat on flesh
to bronze ourselves,
carve gods and harlots,
hollow the studs and the muffins
from our formal mould

the roost of our inner Latins fly:
the statuary reveals –
Adonis, Priapus, Venus, Aphrodite

and we will buff and shine in the light
and in the dark, slaking heated shadows
until, Saturnalia over,
the ticket cries time

and Gloria will not be sick
in transit to Monday,
her swing stifled by her bra
with its wire claws of formality

though she will pause,
shake her head and wonder
if she has left the mask behind
as a beached discard

and who was that woman,
harlot thrusting at heaven,

Douglas Pugh lives in Ontario with a logical wife and an insane menagerie. He likes to believe that he fills the gap in the middle. He writes poetry, short stories, plays and novels. In between running a micro press, The RightEyedDeer Press, Doug is a keen supporter of local heritage you’ll find him in the summer narrating on the Haliburton and Minden Ghost Walks.



Being Lonely

in the rain is redundant. The soft chatter
of the drops disrupting your navigational
senses. Consumed
by green, you forget the forest, become
one of the trees. Content to breathe deadly
dioxides. Exhaling memories of life, past. Knowing
no one is there to hear you fall.



[Hand 2] Hand-Aid

His call knows my answer. Even before it breaks
my lips. Are his lines to sanity
faltering? Against mine, the straining becomes
song-like in its balance. I am
an anchor. (Less boat. More ballast.) My skin
is rusted enough to withstand his latest layer
of salt. Crusted and crumbling, I fall
next to his arms. They grab for me
like the dying. Light is unresponsive here.
Catatonic clasps flicker like ghosts. He finds
me, finally. Covering me like a body bag. I am
smothering inside his need. He bleeds
and breathes through me. In long gasping coos,
he communicates with monsters. I cannot see
his ending. Only mine
filters through the graying dawn: understanding.
Is a curse really the strongest base
for our kiss?



A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest. Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.      She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Vinicius Marinho


Sol-ar inSi-de mim
a pós vitral vital vigil-ia
quién podría decir see
canary amanheceria
amarela a jalousie janela
abierta for el campo limpio.

I peered through the casing
saw simoon wind muito além da casa e
obliterada a somber-ia noite.

Perfume de tereré e l-orange dulce
matte calypso mosaics of scents
de papaya y tangerine
a combine y mold-harem of
arabic, andaluz e crioulo equines
wildly lopping through the sylvan cielo’s
translated to
parva nubes of terracotta capitanes
floating amarch ab occidente
on the mackerel sky

evaded macau y calicut
docked in socotra’s arid porto
swigged vino in muscat before navigating
océano índico adrift

crossed laccadive y العربية seas
and por el mar de seychelles suffered hunger y decease
until atracarem in moçambique
y madagascar.

séquitos d’angola
madeira d’açores
invaded por air-y mosaics via fragrance of naranjas mature

heading to a frontier nula de alms
authenticated documented echt tierras
d-santa helena e santa cruz
inexistente y indigente frontera.

vi o pervasive sol a rayar
revealed on el arroyo
dáguas so obscure

sol so tão claramente refulgent
q despertava in me sol-ely the idea
o’nacientis gigantic sol-aqua
a dis.sol.ver
frontiers a pronto.

Poetry Editor’s note: ‘Stella’ pictures a morning looking through the window in Pantanal, the largest seasonably flooded lowland in the world, between Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. The poet gives a taste of its cultural formation and natural condition. Behind the use of five languages there is a strong semantic and phonetic effort employed for conveying meaning from such a radical multicultural writing.

Vinicius Marinho was born in Araruama, Brazil. He received his law degree from the University of Rio de Janeiro, where he worked as an attorney for five years before moving to Berkeley, California. His writing has appeared in several American literary journals. Currently, he is translating, organizing an anthology of Brazilian Poetry in English, and finishing his first book.

Pijush Kanti Deb


The Followers

It sets the teeth on edge
and ablaze a fire in the eyes as well
yet the old advice is shameless
in persuading the innocent followers
to take time by the forelock
and make headway in life,
though ignorant to the negative role
played by a haughty bull –
almost lunatic in running towards
and trampling down the enchanted followers
and driving them out of the way of destination.

The upcoming timid followers realize
the risk of taking a leap in the dark,
feel the standing of their hair on end
at the frightening body language of the bull
and prompt to take their own heels
saying, ‘Grapes are sour’.
Here, an egalitarian can beat his brains
for a quick and sustainable solution –
mingling the advice with power,
inspiring and providing the followers
with amulets to be bold enough to
take the bull by the horns
making it compelled
to go back straight to its dirty stable,
bestowing the followers with sweet grapes
and fueling them to the brim
to make a headway in their lives.




Pijush Kanti Deb is an Associate Professor in Economics. More than 120 poems and haiku have been published by Indian and international publishers since June 2013 including Tajmahal review, Camel Saloon Blog Spot, E-pao.Net, Dead Snake Blog Spot, Down in the Dirt, Poetic Monthly Magazine, Poems and Poetry BlogSpot, Poetry 24 Blog Spot, Long Story Short , Gean Tree Haiku Journal,My Word Wizard, and A Handful of Stones , Kalkion, Verse Engine ,The Apple Tree ,High Coupe , Madswril,Whisper, Mel Brake Press, The Voice
Project ,Vox poetica, Kritya, Criterion,Calvary Cross, Muse India, Busting and Droning Magazine, Pennine Ink , The Artistic Muse, Guwahatian and

Kittie Belltree



One night, waiting for Sleep
another came to rest beside
another grown old and tired
of clocks and days and numbers.

I did not hear her soft step
or feel her slip beneath sheets
like a sleepless child.
Motionless, we lie together

listening to the faint rattle
of a far-away train
a vixen’s shriek, a drunk
in the street singing Singing

In The Rain. We watch
the moon untangle her hair
before she floats away
to find another dressing

table mirror to gloat in.
I do not see my companion’s face
though I imagine her pale,
silver-fox fair. Instead I catch
the slap of morning tide against
fishing boat’s side, the spat
of raindrops against glass.
I turn to take her in my arms

but there is only the familiar silence –
it hangs like a favourite cup
before it finds the floor- as morning cracks
and the sky begins its pouring

Kittie Belltree Lives in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Her fiction has been anthologised by Honno, The Welsh Women’s Press, and her poetry and has been broadcast on BBC Radio Wales and been published in Orbis, The Lunar Attic, Obsessed with Pipework and The New Welsh Review.    She also reviews poetry and blogs for NWR Online.

Okeke Franklin Nnabuike

On the periphery this looks promising

Whispers sailed from the shore within
With them came striking thoughts
One holding dearly against each other
Like a vibration of some sort
This in him sparked off a stir.

In one lay a soft path
Its layers shimmered in greenish colouring
Bereft of pricking and sharp stones
Waving him close with untamed giddy
Its eyes, filled with unreserved frenzy
On the periphery, this looked promising.

In the other came a rugged path
Cracks and thorns walked on it
In so scary yet cute prance
It smelled of hardness and sweat
No doubt it was the hard way
Which he as a mortal
Would never tread.

Taking that soft path
Which in it lay no struggle,
No cracks, no qualms and no sweats
He sought with stern and rigorous vigour
For the rosy branch of life
To pluck away his lacks
Soothe his fears
And heal his pricked soul.

Moving further into that soft path
Where his breath smelled of life
Where he revved with untold hope
Which his mind had been tethered to
He looked, hoped and longed for
This treasure-filled terrain he had sought for
Yet the more he advanced, he met none
Not even some debris of pearls or bronze
And his hope ebbed away.

He needed not be told
That all that glitters can’t be gold
He leaped off, made a turn and fled
In that manner of a wild dog
Prancing after a prey.
In all these escapades
One thing struck his mind:
He is going back to the root
To remake his faulty decisions
To heal his cracked destiny.




Okeke Franklin Nnabuike was born in Enugu State in 1992. He is currently a student of Adult Education Administration in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Due to his love for literature, he has been combining his studies with writing and what he always calls “Literary Blogging”. He published a book in 2012, titled Procrastination: A Hidden Enemy. Some of his works which have been on the blog site ( include: Spiritual Madness, Mr. Devil and Saint, My Union With Agony, The Nigerian Struggle.