The Hedge, by Christopher Hileman

The Hedge
by Christopher Hileman

I wear a cincture
on my craft. Should I call this
love? I must ponder
the old growth and ways
the new bamboo says to me
a gold coin safely
can be used, stipend,
it says, and by God coming
straight down from heaven.

Trying to rebuild
my holy place takes a skill
beyond all my days.

He said, keep the ruse
of my life a verdant hedge
and the art of it
divine in my core.
There I finish the touches,
then give it all back.

The Disappearance, by Mark Danowsky

The Disappearance
by Mark Danowsky

Out there
voice is
squirreled away

In here
a voice
on full display

Cold world
it is, where
no one stays

End times
some say
in our day

X search
not enough
leads us astray

We all search
too much
in the fray

We ask, we ask
what are we
afraid to say

Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in Alba, Cordite, Grey Sparrow, Mobius, Shot Glass Journal, Third Wednesday and other journals. Mark is originally from the Philadelphia area, but currently resides in North-Central West Virginia. He works for a private detective agency and is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

Poetry on the Menu, by Debi Swim

Poetry on the Menu
by Debi Swim

When my soul’s a ’hungered
for sunshine and there’s only rain
or for rain and there’s only sunshine…
when my heart is starving for bill and coo
and you are far away
or when I need to rant and rage
against the wage of man’s sin
or feel ravenous for a gentler time,
famished for tranquility
midst this rat eat rat a tat incivility
I sate my appetite on syllables
sibilant, round, quiet, loud,
that tickle, sooth, incite, unbowed,
unashamed to ravish language
like an alchemist turning base
into gold, distilling the elixir of life.
I am replete, for you see,
“I’ve been eating poetry”

Editor’s note: Written in response to Prompt 49, Red Wolf Poems. “In your piece, reference a line of poetry. The line, “I’ve been eating poetry”, for instance. It is borrowed from Mark Strand’s “Eating Poetry”.”

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

The Practical Freedom of Madness, by Marilyn Braendeholm

The Practical Freedom of Madness
by Marilyn Braendeholm

dream-2011 Jacek Yerka (1)

Art by Jacek Yerka

I remember the day that I woke,
mad — and I thought I’d
crackle from the heat of it all.
It felt like every mask I’d worn,
was removed. Like sandpaper,
I was an irritant in my own skin.
And I remember layers of myself,
dissolved — such a practical way
of dressing,
and undressing,
and sometimes I fancy myself
a surreal piece of art, like a cat
who’s stealing my seven lives.

Process notes: This was prompted by an image, Prompt 46 (via Magpie Tales), Red Wolf Poems, and it occurred to me that as we sleep — we all go slightly mad.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind, aging Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is published by Waterways Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Gnarled Oak, and several print anthologies. She blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

He Leaned, by Nancy Iannucci

He Leaned
by Nancy Iannucci


Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, 1969, Unknown photographer

He leaned elegantly against a viscid wooden beam as all suave men did at the Post House back in 1966, flipped on the winning bait like he was flinging pizza margarita dough six feet into the air catching it dexterously with one hand. His Neapolitan accent & Sal Mineo looks reeled them in on Saturday nights, but tonight he was determined to win this one; he had been tracking her with stealth ornithologist skill through marshes of people, tables, and empty Schlitz & Lambrusco bottles. He finally made his Mediterranean move.

“You looka lika Brigitte Bardot,” he said, as he leaned against this auburn-feathered bird whose lipstick was the shade of ghost that had the death drained out of it. She laughed & sardonically lifted a penciled eyebrow to an adjacent friend. She knew he was full of shit; Bardot’s hair was blond but she gave him the benefit of the doubt induced by his Plato-Rebel-Without-a-Cause innocence, and she later learned his name was, coincidentally, Sal.

The Yardbirds rescued his broken English; “For Your Love” shook her up like an electric shock and they found themselves on the dance floor. He shadowed her groove for his gallant mannerisms ebbed as fast as a tsunami; dancing made him feel nervous.

They continued to pull each other out of their comfort zones for the next three years until one spring morning he left her for Vietnam.

Months of silent nothingness drifted like a specter until a photograph arrived addressed “To Brigitte.” She went hazy like the image and could feel the oppressive heat and perilous unknown emanating in her hands but was comforted to see his Plato smile as he leaned alongside a lone palm tree that stood rooted at the edge of Cam Ranh Bay.

“That lean, the Post House lean,” she whispered, reminiscing.

He was still leaning for her, still watching her, longing to make his move in the midst of jungle chaos.

Process notes: I never knew this photograph of my father existed until just two weeks ago. It was taken by an unknown photographer who was documenting American soldiers stationed at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, so naturally I was taken by this never-before-seen photo of my dad, and so started writing.

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. She has always been entranced by the mysticism of life and the fine line that exists between our world and the mystical. She feels, at times, like she inhabits some place in the middle and expresses herself through writing trying to reconcile her own existence in between these two realms; her work has been published by Performance Poets Association, Three Line Poetry, Red Wolf Journal, and Faerie Magazine (photography). ​

Periwinkle And Paisley–Morning’s Coin Purse, by Hannah Gosselin

Periwinkle And Paisley–Morning’s Coin Purse
by Hannah Gosselin


Marc Chagall, Birthday

I’m captured by caress of waking dream
that silent land betwixt-between
even now with eyes wide open
as I arrange fresh flowers
watch sun’s early light through window
it falls in bright streams on street…
I can’t seem to shake the feeling
your lips hovering above mine –
always that anticipatory moment
before abandon of self-control
given to passion – you kiss me.

Editor’s note: Written in response to Prompt 40, Red Wolf Poems.

Process notes: The inspiration for this poem began with the idea of a kiss that one cannot forget and it was fun finding a title in some of the details that stood out in the painting as well.

Hannah Gosselin’s song is one inspired of the natural beauty around her. She was awarded a diploma by the Institute of Children’s Literature located in West Redding, Connecticut, “Writing for Children and Teenagers,” and has been published in Prompted, An International Collection of Poems, Poetic Bloomings-The First Year, and Red Wolf Journal. Hannah’s happiest on a forest path of green or by the salty sea.