Author Archives : PoetsHaven.com


Congratulations to our Award Nominees!

2018StarLineAd

 

As you can see from the above graphic (which will be the ad we run in an upcoming issue of Star*Line magazine), SIX poems published in The Poet’s Haven Digest have been nominated for Rhysling Awards!  :-D

 

(from The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land)

2018 Rhysling Award for Short Poems:
Vince Gotera – “Astro-Archaeologist’s Log”
Mary A. Turzillo – “When the Aliens Come to Tea”
2018 Rhysling Award for Long Poems:
Deborah L. Davitt – “Shards of a Fractured Soul”

 

(from The Poet’s Haven Digest: The Distance Between Insanity and Genius)
2018 Rhysling Award for Short Poems:
Azriel Johnson – “Villain L”
2018 Rhysling Award for Long Poems:
Jen Giacalone – “She Dreams of Tigers, or Remembers”
Jesse Parent – “Sons of Fire and Clay”

 

Herb Kauderer‘s Flying Solo: The Lana Invasion has also been nominated for the Elgin Award!


Announcing ENVELIT – Envelopes of Literature!

The Poet’s Haven is pleased to announce the launch of a long-awaited, long-in-the-works program:

 

Envelit is a subscription service that brings our readers an envelope stuffed with books of poetry and short fiction every other month.  Think of it like a “Loot Crate” full of books from the best small-press publishers around.

 

The first shipment will arrive in mailboxes this April.  There will never be more than one book from a single author in a shipment, and we won’t repeat authors for at least one year.  Each book in a shipment will be from a different press.  (Also, not every shipment will have a Poet’s Haven title in it.)  Books included in our shipments will be stand-alone titles: you won’t get stuck with a book that is number 7 in a 12 part series and have to track down all the earlier books before you can read the title we sent.  Plans are in the works for shipments selected by guest curators, and we are planning to have books make their debut in Envelit shipments before being available to the general public.  Perhaps the biggest thing we’re going to do different than other subscription box services is that we will announce what is in the upcoming shipment and give you time to request a substitution if you already own one of the titles.  As exciting as it is discovering what is inside a blind shipment, it is very disappointing to open a subscription box and pull out something you already have.  If we’ve selected a title you already own, let us know and we’ll get it switched out with something else from our inventory.

 

To subscribe, head over to envelit.com!


“To: C-Jay” by Emily Anderson

my love is not a new love it has evolved over millennia;

i cannot say anything new about the feeling in my gut i have no revolutionary thoughts about

the afterlife i cannot tell you how to fix a pulled thread-

 

my love is not a new love it has fermented in the rotting grapes

it has fermented in the rotting grapes.

i have fermented in the rotting grapes.

it has germinated in the redwoods and i have died and been reborn.

 

i have endured frostbite and sunburns and stretched skin and scars from hot water

i have cracked but never crumbled

so i must be stronger than mountains.

 

you must be stronger than mountains.

 

my life has waxed and waned

i have watched the dirt rain down and shield me from the horror

i have been bathed in light cast from fluorescent bulbs and kerosene lamps and i have been baptized in

the sun-

i have watched black clouds collide and carve into the earth

like children with sticks in sand.

 

we have held seashells to our ears and listened closely.

we heard war

or were those waves crashing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Anderson is a creative writing major who moved from bustling Miami, Florida to the small village of Bidwell in the Ohio River Valley. She is a student at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and is currently working on her first novel.


“Pygmalion’s Dream” by Zachary Flint

Her lips cool as granite
Curves frozen in relentless beauty
My warmest desires forever rebuffed
She does not know me, though I have known her.

 

But in my dreams her lips respond
Sealing our love as the breeze touches her hair
Our hearts beat together with the eternal flame
I do not wish to wake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zachary Flint is a college student studying Mathematics in Boston, MA. His influences include but are not limited to: John Donne, Kurt Vonnegut, and his friend Mario. When he isn’t studying in Boston, he lives in Vermont with his parents because he has no money.


“Creatures of the Water” by David Hernandez

When I look at the El Paso Zoo’s alligator
resting in its pond, its eyes look back to me.

 

I try to imagine what it thinks:
“The gray clouds will engulf the light.
The rain will fall for a week
and send ripples throughout the pond.
The water will connect with the ground.
Light might pass through holes in the gray clouds
and send heat to warm my back.”

 

Then I try to imagine what it thinks of me:
“He probably needs a break from the heat.”

 

I walk to view the wolves by its side
and still its eyes stare back at me.

 

“When will he want to view the blue sky?
The heat makes you feel more alive
than the rain, which makes you sick
then puts you asleep.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Hernandez is from El Paso, TX. He has also been published by Down in the Dirt Magazine, CC&D Magazine, Feelings of the Heart, Home Planet News Online, Oxford Magazine, Eye on Life Magazine, and Zylophone Poetry Journal.


“Militant Globetrotters” by Joseph Robert

We don’t believe in a cause
We believe in anything
That removes Society’s muzzle
& lets us gorge freely
On the blood of the brave
& lets us gnaw merrily
On the bones of the weak

 

Our dream is to become morality police
Empowered to behead the scum
Who used to live here
At the drop of a blade

 

Two war crimes make a right
To descend into sanctimonious savagery

 

Murder is the birthright
Of those made obstinate
Those born to the wrong clan
Them who won’t convert

 

We’ll get them gone
Gotta love our hate
Flexible problem solvers
We’ll go far

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Robert was longlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize 2015. His poetry has appeared in Decanto, Unlikely Stories, Dead Snakes, The Journal, Mistress Quickly’s Bed, Pyrokinection, The Commonline Journal, Mudjob, Spinozablue, Black Mirror, Message in a Bottle, Bluepepper, Eunoia Review, Inclement, Leaves of Ink, The Open End, The Open Mouse, and the Insert Coin Here anthology. His joint poetry chapbook with his poet wife, Leilanie Stewart, has been reviewed in Sabotage Magazine.


“59 O’clock” by Drew Marshall

The first day of Spring
When the thoughts
Of a late middle aged man
Turn to folly

 

A young lady walks
Several feet in front of me
With jeans
Painted on to her bulging butt

 

I’m on my way to the dentist
Tomorrow, a relative’s funeral
It’s not the first time
I witness a mother burying her son

 

Later that night, I am told
My neighbor’s daughter is dead
She died in a car accident
While upstate on vacation

 

My fears are irrelevant

 

It’s been years, if not decades
Since I have been this focused

 

The ass had faded

 

Only death is forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drew Marshall works as a Program Assistant in the mental health field. He has also worked as a Benefit Analyst and litigation paralegal. He enjoys practicing guitar and snorting vanilla scented candles.


“Risky Business” by Scott Thomas Outlar

Daredevil squirrels
up on the tightrope of life
leap on high
from one tree to the next.

 

The branches bend precariously,
sagging beneath the new weight,
and every time I watch
I just pray
that I never have to witness
a snap followed by a splatter.

 

After all, I’ve certainly seen
enough bloodshed in the streets
so far this season
as speeding mammals
with heavy feet
simply cannot swerve in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His chapbook Songs of a Dissident is available from Transcendent Zero Press, and his words have appeared recently in venues such as Words Surfacing, Yellow Chair Review, Dissident Voice, Section 8 Magazine, and Void Magazine17numa.wordpress.com


“Rainy Day in Baseballland” by Joe DeMarco

It was a rainy day in Baseballland
The players were home in bed
One rookie rolled over his eyelids a flutter
With dreams of a stand-up triple running through his head

 

The cleats and spikes were all on hooks
Along with mitts, bats, and caps
And even Cal Ripken Jr. had settled down
For a long summer’s nap

 

Outside the rain was pouring down
While puddles drenched the field
But little Eric Hopkins came to play
And his imagination refused to yield

 

His mitt lay soggy in a puddle
And his sleeves were drenched with rain
As his hands clenched a cold bat with a hope
“That springs eternal in the human brain.”

 

Little Eric threw the ball up swung and missed,
And the umpire bawked, “Strike one!”
He tapped his cleats, picked up the ball, and reminded the ghost crowd,
“This rain won’t ruin our fun.”

 

For little Eric loved the game
And he loved the feel of stitched leather in his hands
As he waved to his mom, who sat with his fabricated wife
And his invented kids up there in the fantasy stands

 

And now the imaginary pitcher holds the ball
And now he lets it go
But little Eric swung and missed again
Which made two strikes in a row

 

He metaphorically dusted himself off
And picked up the ball once more
For often he wished that instead of three strikes
The batter could get four

 

But today he realized, it was his day
His wishes were his commands
So as he squeezed the water from his jersey
He raised his finger toward the left-field stands

 

He was Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr.,
and Barry Bonds all together
And anything you said about lightning or thunder
Wouldn’t be getting him out of this weather

 

For in his head the sun was shining
And the grass was green and dry
And he sent that low and away 0-2 pitch
Like a rocket into the sky

 

And he arrogantly trotted around the bases
Stepped on third and headed toward home plate
While his mother yelled from down the street,
“Dinner’s cold and you are late!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare, The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins, At Play in the Killing Fields, and Blind Savior, False Prophet. He is currently working on several new projects.  (authorsden.com/josephdemarco)


“Recovery” by Colleen Redman

I wake cold turkey like clockwork
to the sound of your car in the driveway
Solitude is the fix I want to alone with
but I fear the confinement
and my tolerance for abandonment is low

 

I try not to think
about the clutter in the basement
or the rain washing foundations away
I recreate my life like puzzle
Is everyone safe in their place?

 

I count the hours I’ve slept
like an addict counts pills
and then loses track

 

Sometimes I fall back to sleep
and imagine I’ll never wake up
or I stare out the window
at the tree losing leaves
and wait for an urge to take shape

 

The unexpected poem
like a dream just recalled
is an escape route
that gets my attention

 

It’s the secret life I depend on
and the recovery I faithfully follow
It’s the mystery I was made
to be hooked on

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“Proximity” by Rowena Ilagan

You circle your arms around me,
Bring my body close to yours.
Your lips claim mine in a hurry
Lighting a thousand little flames
Under my skin.
I hear you groan…
A deep sweet rumbling
from your chest.
My body is singing,
humming–
Dancing in time with yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rowena Ilagan is a freelance writer living in beautiful Redondo Beach, CA. When not writing, she is pursuing one of her many jobs and interests, including martial arts, counseling, and metaphysical studies. (facebook.com/rowena.ilagan.16)


“The Art of War” by Al Rocheleau

When all trees fall
instead of one
do they make noise
if, when it’s done
it’s deafened as it stunned
the village
and villagers
in dell before it?

 

And what of the usual
raff, the pillagers
(elected of hell),
the Visigoth, Eulan, Arab,
and American,
one in rushes by a Mekong
flat, replete with lorries
and rat-a-tat, the little, late plumes
or, predictable
as Dakota dawns

 

the counting cold, then heat
of the very
long?

 

No answers. The
questions are wrong.

 

One figures, figures
then forgets philosophy
for the simple sings
of good war-songs, the sex of hate
as all the meatmen, we, in silkslings, pulled
and always hither milled
by one good clapping hand,

 

arbiter and profligate,
the us and it, so
ever stupid still
lies still

 

and strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Al Rocheleau‘s work has appeared in publications in the US and abroad, including Confrontation, Evansville Review, Illuminations, Studio One, Van Gogh’s Ear, Iodine Poetry Journal, and Poetry Salzburg Review. He is the recipient of the Thomas Burnett Swann Poetry Prize, and author of the manual On Writing Poetry. His Twelve Chairs Poetry Course, accredited by the Florida State Poets Association, includes scholarships for high school students.


“Boardwalk” by Zachary Flint

She was just a girl
On the boardwalk
Smiling at me between
Licks of ice cream

 

Brown eyes consume my thoughts
Dark hair invades my dreams
But I walked away, afraid
For I was just a boy.

 

 

 

 

 

Zachary Flint is a college student studying Mathematics in Boston, MA. His influences include but are not limited to: John Donne, Kurt Vonnegut, and his friend Mario. When he isn’t studying in Boston, he lives in Vermont with his parents because he has no money.


Digest Calls and Deadlines

The submission window for “The Distance Between Insanity and Genius” closes in a matter of hours. The deadline for “Darker Than Fiction” has been set for January 7th. The next Digest call, “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…” has now gone live, and has been given the deadline of May 26.

 

I learned something as the submission windows for “Strange Land” and “The Distance Between Insanity and Genius” have closed: 75% of the submissions will be sent during the final 48 hours the call is open! These calls were open for several years, with only one or two submission coming in each month, and the plan was to close them once we had accepted enough to fill the book. When I decided that “Strange Land” needed to be released at the same time as Herb Kauderer’s “Flying Solo,” I set a close date and suddenly submissions were rolling in and we ended up with so many awesome pieces that the planned 36 page book grew to 64 pages. As I type this, there’s 23 hours left for “Distance” submissions, and on Friday alone more than 100 pieces were submitted. Lesson learned: set a deadline right from the start.


“Quiet” by Eric Burbridge

A cloud of pollen surrounded the machine
I sneezed and finished the landscaping
Sunlight pierced the haze and stimulated the imagination
I reclined the glove soft leather

 

Pretty faces spread news and fear on high definition pixels
DVR temptation distracted momentarily
Discipline prevailed
And the power button restored tranquility

 

Sunlight drenched the family room
A squirrel paused on the window sill
It nibbled on an acorn and moved on
Admiration of a manicured landscape soothed wounded creativity
What beauty will come out of the silence?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Burbridge retired from public service after thirty-five years. Every since that wonderful day he has devoted himself to writing fiction and poetry.


“The Bite is Always Worse Than the Bark” by Colleen Redman

Worse than being bit
when I was eight years old
was the shame I felt
having to pull up my skirt
and pull down my pants
to show the doctor

 

Almost as bad as that
were the jokes that followed
and never having a dignified way
to say bum, butt, rear-end or fanny

 

For years I dreamt of growling dogs
German Shepherds that wouldn’t let me pass
at the school bus stop corner
of Spring Street and Nantasket Ave

 

I faced them down
Somewhere in my 30s
when my dreams changed from barking dogs
to being lost in strange cities

 

Worse than being bit
when I was eight years old
was being bit again at 65
being targeted then marked
with a vampire-like imprint
in the same place twice
for no reason

 

It seems that dog bites can be recurring
like bronchitis or ear infections
and that childhood bogeymen come back and bite
like dreams can bleed into your real life

 

And when you’re bit you in the ass
you have to ask “what is the metaphor
for this chewing out?”
What immunity have I been inoculated against?
What symmetry of destiny?
What betrayal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“Her Nursing Home Eyes” by Robert L. Porter, Jr.

At first she was bright and attentive,
Laughing at many things.
But slowly her musings diminished;
That is what Alzheimer’s brings.

 

Initially her eyes seemed normal,
But their glow began to ebb,
Progressing ever so surely,
Like a spider builds her web.

 

The light in her eyes grows dimmer,
Diminishing every day.
The sparkle, the gleam, and the glitter
Are slowly fading away.

 

She often looks without seeing –
Displaying a vacant stare;
It’s hard to hold her attention;
Distractions loom everywhere.

 

It’s hurtful to watch her vanishing,
And difficult to scribe this rhyme,
Explaining the tug at my heartstrings
With each painful passage of time.

 

It’s no small task to communicate
This ache that I feel inside;
I utter goodbye every visit
With tears that I cannot hide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert L. Porter, Jr. is retired. He spent many entrepreneurial years in the computer industries, but retired as a vice president in the financial/brokerage industry. He has written poems for over 40 years, but only began seeking publication in 2015. He had a father who read stories and poems of the masters to him; and he developed a fondness for Longfellow, J. W. Riley, Poe, and many, many others. After escaping the business world, Bob has had more time to spend with his life-long passion: poetry. Improving the style and substance of his poems is his continuing focus.


Poet’s Haven Surpasses 50 Print Book Titles

The Poet’s Haven recently published three new books; “Flying Solo: The Lana Invasion” by Herb Kauderer, “The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land,” and “Becoming Bubbe” by Mala Hoffman.  While setting up for Summit StageFest last weekend, it occurred to me that we had just surpassed 50 print titles.  Going by the order the books were printed, Herb Kauderer’s book is our 50th release and Mala Hoffman’s book brings us to 52.  (This includes The Poet’s Haven Digest Issue Zero and the five VENDING MACHINE anthologies.)

 

This brings a big smile to my face, as I make plans to celebrate this press’ 20th anniversary in just a few months’ time.  :-D


The Poet’s Haven Digest: Strange Land – CALL ENDING APRIL 30

The Poet’s Haven Digest’s call for our upcoming “Strange Land” anthology (featuring poetry and stories about extraterrestrials and their view of us earthlings) will be CLOSED on April 30th.  We are working to have the book completed by late May or early June.  If you are one of those folk who have to wait until the last minute, that time is now.