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Poetry 4 Spring 2019




(Patient endurance of hardship, injury, forbearance)

Dedicated to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock


by Brenda Berry


The abject audacity of

White Man’s capacity

for perpetual rapacity

through blatant mendacity

the depravity of the noble warrior   ………….  sickens me.


Those whose innate ability

a natural proclivity

to stand with dignity

testament of magnanimity  …………………    Save the water.


Impending calamity

destruction of humanity

disfunction or insanity?

An act of profanity

born of greed and vanity  ………………..     it’s all about money.


Malignant verbosity

expressed with ferocity

increasing velocity

grows the atrocity

feeds the monstrosity

so much pomposity

devoid of reciprocity  …………………….    sitting in ivory towers


With mindful clarity

of the insincerity

they gathered in solidarity

a shift in polarity

to stand valiantly  ……………………….  and change the world


Bio:  Brenda Berry, a professor of happiness & delight, celebrates love - in all its forms.   A wedding celebrant, certified holistic health practitioner & Reiki Master teacher, she lives contentedly in Winchester with her beloved husband, John, and Yorkie companions, Lily & Molly. 



 Flight of Knowledge

                                                They have no sea to swim in.—Marina Zalesski
         by  James  B.  Nicola
The things to know, they never knew, nor knew
they didn’t know. So what were they to do
when crisis came? They had no sea to swim
in. When they had us, things were growing grim,
but no one knew they were. We swam on sand,
indulged, adored, well-fed. And it was grand
not knowing all there was to know about,
nor how to go about finding out.
How good we feel about ourselves still, though,
not knowing, and not knowing we don’t know.
I have a dream, though, sometimes, of a sea
far from the sand’s self-styled democracy
where schools are fearless: even guppies, taught
to navigate the wetter world of thought.
There, fins turn, every now and then, to wings
(as in the Escher print) from knowing things
like how to look within and how to look
without; or how to find an honest book
to help us see, at night, the light of day;
the Way to Know, or how to know the Way;
and not just look and think, but that we should;
that with true thought, there’s nothing that we could
not do; and that no truly worthwhile thoughts
can be contained or cast in such dry dots+
as we’ve been filling in on data sheets
for The Machine That Doesn’t Read, but eats.
All makes sense in my dream!
                                                       And then I wake,

made blank once more, though with a plangent ache
all over, like a memory of yore
that Once Upon a Time we learned to soar.
Bio:  James B. Nicola's poems have appeared in the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and in Green Silk Journal. His four poetry collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave(2017), and Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018). James's nonfiction book Playing the Audiencewon a Choice award. His poetry has won two Willow Review awards and been nominated six times for a Pushcart. sites.google.com/site/ jamesbnicola.



What Else Is On

     by  Frederick Pollack



For a second, writing something

that pleased me, I wasn’t (as per usual)

reduced to pure will absorbed in an idea,

but saw my hand all but guided,

shoulders hugged by one or several

figures, warmly smiling, I

smiling. I think my mother was there,

and several women I’ve loved, but not

specifically they. The work

was good, they praised and shared

its goodness, it partook

of theirs. Normally, my stuff

reeks of testosterone, icy detachment

and all that (but keeping lines open

to pity, grief, etc.). I’m more

than willing to admit, however,

that women are more real

than men: that hunch

which drives right-wingers crazy. Being

comparatively ghostly has advantages

and doesn’t rule out hating other ghosts.

In any case, that moment

of creativity cradled by, merging with

warm breasts, though somewhat anomalous,

deserved thirty lines.


Bio: Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018).  Many other poems in print and online journals.



Whispers  ~  in memory of Katherine Crowley

 by  Bonnie Amesquita 


Shhh, shhh
my darlin’
my macushla. 
pulse of my heart.

It’s story time
and then to bed. 
I’ll tell you stories I was told
when I was little like you.

I’ll tuck you snug beneath the blanket
and tell you about ghosts and banshees
the sidhe who live
just beyond
the thinnest veil.

Then shhh, shhh
my macushla.
Say prayers
to your guardian angel

to keep you safe this dark night.
Give us a kiss
and go to sleep.


Bio: Bonnie Amesquita’s short perspectives have been featured on her local NPR station WNIJ, and on APR’s Speaking of Faith. Her poetry has been published in the New York Times, Third Wednesday, Fictional Café, and Green Silk Journal. She is awaiting the distribution of her first chap book, Saints and Other Strangers, published by Finishing Line Press. She and her husband Ric live in DeKalb, IL.