Michael Lee Johnson – 2 poems 



Next life I will be a little higher on the pecking order.

No longer a dishwasher at the House of Pancakes,

or Ricky’s All Day Grill, or Sunday night small dog thief.

I will evolve into the Prince of Bullfrogs, crickets don’t bother,

swamp flies don’t bother me-I eat them. Alligators I avoid.

I urinate on lily pads mate across borders, continents at will.

Someone else from India can wash my dishes locally for me.

Forward all complaints to that religious office of Indian affairs.



Children in the Sky 


There is a full moon,

distant in this sky tonight,


Gray planets planted

on an aging white, face.


Children, living and dead,

love the moon with small hearts.


Those in heaven already take gold thread,

drop the moon down for us all to see.


Those alive with us, look out their

bedroom windows tonight,

we smile, then prayers, then sleep.



Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015, nominated Best of the Net 2016.  Poetry published in 33 countries, 133 YouTube poetry videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos.  Michael Lee Johnson has several books, and chapbooks published and is Editor-in-chief of 2 poetry anthologies,Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, andDandelion in a Vase of Roses.  He is administrator of a Facebook poetry group over 12, members:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998.  He is editor of 10 poetry sites.


Peter Branson – 2 poems 

The Modern Poet



feels obligated to

be brushed,

jumps bail,

takes mental residence


an isolated shack

deep down

some cold

autistic Trail. 


With unctuousness

reserved for those

with cash or clout,

conceit’s inbred,

a shaman-like


Mutt ‘n’ Jeff,


the thread.



The Wild Boar Inn


Long holiday, late afternoon,

down sunken country lanes, three lads

aged nine a good two miles from home,

you dump your bikes beside the pool,

explore the feeder dammed to fuel

three mills below, one modernised,

two ruins, check out behind the inn,

a cobbled yard, old outbuilding,

crates, barrels, stairs, dust everywhere,

a yawning trapdoor’s grainy dark,

rats conjured, slightest stir beyond.

The landlord hangs himself here years

ago, high crime, a mortal sin,

wife gone for good. A creaking from

above, the gently-swaying rope’s

dead weight slow twists inside your head

this way and that. You spook for fun,

retrieve your wheels, don’t dare look back.




 Peter Branson

Lynette G. Esposito – 1 poem 

The Widow


Sheryl slipped out of bed at 11 pm,

donned her five-year old pink robe,

 headed to the kitchen.

 She pulled the last piece of wedding cake

from the freezer; sat at the table.

At midnight,

she took a bite; felt his ghostly fingers lift her fork.




Lynette G. Esposito lives with her husband, Attilio, in Southern, NJ.  She is an animal rights advocate

and is allowed to take care of her five cats when they are in the mood.


Milton P. Ehrlich – 1 poem 



She landed in my life in a veiled reverie

with the blood of betrayal etched in her bones.

It was more than she could bare.


A casualty of a failed romance,

she hovered overhead in suspended animation.

She couldn’t say yes, and couldn’t say go.


I absorbed her hurt like a poultice

soaking up an accidental spill.

I stemmed the flow of blood

and nursed a festering wound

with the warm milk of adoration.


I delivered in rain sleet and snow,

with an embrace of infinite kisses

that will last beyond the realm of time.


There was no precipice too high

to climb, no sea too dank and dark

to explore, to show how much I cared.


Hibiscus nectar seeped out of her skin.

Her flame of aliveness will keep dancing

like a Dervish until our galaxy implodes.


Her touch spoke of a love

that eluded the quagmire

of her mind.


I loved her more than she will ever know.

I regret not having been more fun.





Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D is an 85 year-old psychologist. A Korean War veteran, he has  published numerous poems in periodicals such as “Bombay Review,”  “Descant,” “Wisconsin Review,” “Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow,” “Toronto Quarterly Review,” “Off The Coast,” “Christian Science Monitor,” “Huffington Post,” and the “New York Times.”

Patricia Hamilton – 2 poems 

The Day Everything Changed



The English Professor Reminisces






the fifth


grade I longed


to become a writer.






now I


see my fate


was sealed the day




Mr. Cheney was called


away from class.


He handed






our reading group’s text


and told me


to carry








Coffeehouse Elegy




The chair you sat in


belongs to no one


and everyone,


comfortably angled


toward its companion,


brown leather wheezing


hello and goodbye


as patrons perch


to sip their coffee,


then flit away into their day.


Yet now that you’re gone


that chair is yours, bearing


the weight of your absence


for the flock of nameless regulars


that swarm in each morning,


nod to one another,


then settle in to work or read.


Even a migratory customer


like the man with the backpack


who snored softly in the other chair


for two weeks last summer–


who can say where he flew off to?–


would, were he to alight again,


sense the empty shape


of your presence,


would recall you filling in


your crossword, absorbed,


or quietly studying your Bible,


looking up with a charmed smile


if someone you knew


stopped to greet you.


Mornings are chillier now,


but the golden autumn light


still pours through the window


and pools in your empty chair


as if waiting


for your return.




A California native, Patricia Hamilton lives and works in Jackson, TN.  Things that make her happy include travel, dark chocolate, and jazz.  She won the 2015 Rash Award in Poetry.  Her first volume of poetry, The Distance to Nightfall, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing.