Joan McNerney – 1 poem 

Eleventh Hour


Wrapped in darkness we can

no longer deceive ourselves. 

Our smiling masks float away.

We snake here, there

from one side to another. 

How many times do we rip off 

blankets only to claw more on?


Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,

mumble of freight trains, fog horns.

Listening to wheezing,

feeling muscles throb.

How can we find comfort?


Say same word over and over

again again falling falling to sleep.

I will stop measuring what was lost.

I will become brave.


Let slumber come covering me.

Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.

Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.

Now I will curl like a fetus

gathering into myself

hoping to awake new born.




Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Blueline, and Halcyon Days.  Three Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Review Journals, and numerous Kind of A Hurricane Press Publications have accepted her work.  Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky and she has four Best of the Net nominations.  


Gareth Culshaw – 2 poems 


Sticking the stick inside

prodding it for a reaction.

Then they sprawled out

like blood out of a wound.

They ran with time, broken

and lost. Some sprinted towards

our feet. As we stepped away

like avoiding incoming tides.

Some picked up white eggs

and carried them back to the middle.

There looked to be disorder, panic,

a building on fire kind of panic.

But all they were doing was showing

us how life really is. When our minds

are poked by the unknown

and we try and settle everything down.

Back then we could have learnt more,

instead of allowing their false impression

turn our fears into fire drills.





He liked to go the allotments

and pick worms. Fishing was a way

out for him. Out of her house,

to sit searching at the edge.

I hardly spoke to him, even when

we passed in the street. His hands

were always in his pockets,

and his lips fluted together

to whistle songs only he knew.

Last week I was told

he had been rushed into hospital.

Remembering the thick hedge

on the front lawn, wall high, keeping us

out and him in. I wonder where his rods

have gone and the float he would stare

at. Those times now reeled in,

as he tries to hook onto

the last bit of light.




Gareth Culshaw 


Ann Christine Tabaka – 1 poem



It was strange,

running into you at the grocery store.

You remembered me from high school,

almost fifty years ago.

You looked familiar,

but I never was good t remembering names.


You stopped me to ask

if I was okay.

I was mumbling to myself

when I walked by you.

I was just upset over something trivial.

I even forget what it was now.


We chatted a while,

then smiled and made our pleasant good-byes.


Thinking back,

I did not have many friends in high school

I was a bit of an outcast.

Age is the great game changer,

making friends of strangers,

and strangers of friends.


Walking away I was glad that you stopped me.

Talking helped me forget my troubles.

It also made me think,

how many people do I pass everyday

that I once knew

and how many have left us behind.



Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware.  She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer.  She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats.  Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.


Paul Ilechko – 2 poems

The Burning Man


The burning man sat still and calm.

Soaked in gasoline and enflamed,

he nevertheless remained calm.

He blazed like a flaming torch, but

within the inferno he was composed

as he watched the fire devour his body.


The beekeeper watched the man burn.

Understanding nothing, he watched the

flames lick the man’s flesh from the

startling whiteness of bone. Once the

burning was over, he donned his mask

and went outside to care for the bees.




Song of the First Bird


The first bird chirps. He sings, in solo voice

his own particular theme, his early morning 

song, sung once or more, repeating in its 

small and tuneful way his message to the world.


And then that mighty avian choir picks up and 

decorates his theme with rising gusto, repeats

and amplifies his anthem to the sun. I often

hear that causal bird, the first to call on some


bright morning, though other days I fail to recognize

the song for what it is, perhaps too sleepy,

or elsewise distracted. I should make time — it’s 

worth the strain to hear that scant and tenuous


song. To hear the pure thematic beauty,

simply stated by a solo voice, before that too

emphatic choir picks up the melody and takes 

its turn, pouring out from every tiny fluttering

breast the daily serenade, that blithesome sound. 




Paul Ilechko was born in England but has lived much of his life in the USA. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published recently by Dash Literary Journal, Gravel Magazine, Gloom Cupboard, MockingHeart Review and Slag Review, among others.  


Melanie Sear – 1 poem 

Sitting In The Café…


Annie’s coffee sucks,

And her cakes are somewhat stale.

I want a refund!!!





Melanie Sear