Red Wolf Editions Fall 2021 Issue 19: My Dream of You

Red Wolf Editions Fall 2021
Theme: My Dream of You

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I came upon her on a full moon, her breath coming and going as she laid in the sand. She had been playing her mandolin before falling asleep, a jug of water on hand. I tried to put a paw on her—she sleeps lightly as a feather does she—but she merely shifted her weight and slept more deeply.

Oh yes, Shakespeare did say, “Perchance to sleep, to dream.” In Henri Rosseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy, a lion comes into the woman’s dream. It does not attack her. I have myself dreamt of wild animals, like tigers and elephants and hippopotamuses. They come at me often in water, a figment of the imagination invoking fear, and then they do not attack. Often dreams are surreal and only make sense within the dream itself. While one dreams one believes. When one awakes, it’s utterly unreal. Often the dream mines the unconscious, of our fears and longings.

In the painting Rosseau depicts the woman’s dream. But is he in fact the dreamer, creating the art we see? It’s all in his mind’s eye isn’t it? So it is for those who write. Haruki Murakami said “writing itself is like dreaming. When I write, I can dream intentionally”. But unlike a dream which poofs into nothing on awakening, the writer can continue the dream by continuing to write the story, or making up a new story. A dream is exactly like a story.

Dreams are like portals to another world. That’s how the surrealism presents in Murakami’s stories but not as a literal dreaming but what’s happening feels all real. His characters enters a portal, in the form of a well (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) or an underground subway route (IQ84) and so on. “So, in my stories, if you go down to the bottom of the well, there’s another world. And you can’t necessarily tell the difference between this side and the other side.” His characters typically learn some difficult truths after coming back to this side.

The plot device of other parallel universes is evident in stories like in the Harry Potter stories or The Chronicles of Narnia. So it is that poems, as stories, may also function as portals to other worlds, the point of which is an attempt to uncover the mysteries of humanity. It triggers an awakening. One transcends time and space when one steps into stories. And doesn’t one bring something back afterward? In writing and reading, as in dreaming, we ourselves are immersed in a different time and space, in a completely different narrative. We are imagining other worlds.

I want to ask you, what is this dream, this imagining, about which you as a poet writes? Is it a longing? Is it a dream of you? Who is this you? Answer me that. A loved one, a ghost? Even if the you is not named, is often amorphous, a relationship is being set up. Is it a loss of something, someone, and a desire, a dream to recover it, or the connection, in a poem? I think it is often about that too. Is it a dream of some better future, some better self? Like in this poem by Langston Hughes.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

But the meaning has shifted. Dreams shift our reality. This type of dreaming is not a literal one but more symbolic? A mindset? In which case, dreams are not to be dissed, well in this sense of the word. As you imagine, imagination opens the door to dreaming, and dreaming opens the door to the imagination. A door to riches, to happiness can happen in dreams, as we shift our mindset. I was mesmerised by the ending of JD Salinger’s The Catcher In The Rye, when Holden was just watching Phoebe going round and round on a carousel. I think on a deep dreaming level, happiness happens.

I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could’ve been there.

Then there’s a type of dream that interests me—the one of God. Our dream of God as it were. The God that lives within our imagination.

If God exists he isn’t just
butter and good luck.
He’s also the tick that
killed my wonderful dog
Said the river: imagine
everything you can
imagine, then keep on
—Mary Oliver, “At the River Clarion”

Importantly the linchpin of our belief system gives us the meaning of our existence. I want to believe God’s dream of us, God dreaming us into being. What do you make of your own life? Do you believe the path you have been put on is not an accident but a destiny? Who put you there? Chance? God? I was watching The Last Kingdom on Netflix and was transfixed by the path of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Born a Saxon but brought up by Danes, he was a warrior who had fought many battles in support of King Alfred of Wessex, whose dream was of England. He believes that “the truth of a man lies not in the land of his birth, but in his heart”. In his path of unpredictable twists and turns, where demands were constantly being made, he responded and acted according to his heart and a sense of calling, and concluded that “destiny is all”.

Even so we need to imagine for ourselves what we wish to do in this world, how we find ourselves to be, and change path as chance or God will have us. We do not see what is coming. We need to imagine, to keep on dreaming, to become who we are, to finally be at peace with who we are. We will dream till the cows come home. While I sleep, my dream of you has not ended.

Read our submission guidelines here. Please check back on our site to see if your poem has been selected. We will not be sending out any acceptance or rejection letters.

Submissions period: 1 March 2021 to 27 August 2021. Selected poems will be posted on this site and compiled into a PDF release in Fall 2021.

Good writing.

Irene Toh
Fall 2021 Issue

The Coronavirus Poetry Issue Spring 2021 Edition

The Coronavirus Poetry Issue Spring 2021 Edition

The Pandemic Issue

The poets in this collection give witness to a pandemic that had taken over the world since March 2020. Italy was the first European country to go into lockdown, and it was a matter of time before Covid-19 became a global pandemic. About 2.45 million people have died after contracting Covid-19. The pandemic has forced a shutting down of our economies, our borders and our way of living. It was like an apocalypse movie of death and a time of privation for some more than others. The pandemic created a new lexicon of social distancing, remote working and learning, swab tests, contact tracing, green lanes, zoom meetings, self-isolation, etc, and necessitated the mandatory wearing of face masks and required quarantines for travellers.

The pandemic foregrounded the social divide, between those with the resources and those without. It has left people feeling isolated and lacking in social contact. It has put businesses and people in dire straits. It has triggered racial attacks that continue to surface. It has separated loved ones. Travel restrictions remain in place in the spring of 2021. Repeated lockdowns have hollowed out our cities, stymied our economies in an unprecedented way. More than ever before the world is locked and intertwined in a pandemic that has broken old ideologies and taken us into an uncharted territory where uncertainty, mixed with the climate crisis, the growing social divide, and racial tensions have all but addled us and are saying to us that things are reaching tipping points.

It is clear things will not return to pre-coronavirus ways for a while yet even as countries are in the midst of vaccines roll-out and new variants of the coronavirus have to be contended with. So it is that our mindsets have been forced to change. What is the psychological impact of all these changes? Our poetry must situate itself alongside our new mindsets. This collection is coming out round about a year after the coronavirus has seized our consciousness and more or less engulfed it entirely.

You may download the issue here.

The Coronavirus Poetry Issue Spring 2021 edition3

Irene Toh
The Coronavirus Poetry Issue
Spring 2021 Edition

PDF Release of The Reaper Issue 18


I am pleased to announce the release of the Spring 2021 Issue.

The poets with work in the The Reaper edition are:

Misky Braendeholm
Jeff Burt
Lynn Fanok
Andrea L. Fry
John Grey
Martha Phelan Hayes
Michael J. Leach
Mike McLaren
Karla Linn Merrifield
Kate Meyer-Currey
Emil Sinclair
John L. Stanizzi
Debi Swim
Robert Walton
Martin Willitts Jr

You may download a copy of the PDF release here.

The Reaper Spring 2021 Issue 18

You’re invited to submit to our new issue, titled My Dream of You. Read submission guidelines here. You may also find us over at the other site at Red Wolf Editions. Happy writing!

Irene Toh
Spring 2021

Fear the Reaper, by Kate Meyer-Currey

Fear the Reaper
by Kate Meyer-Currey

Mr Reaper is like a stalker
To me; he’s a fact of life
And he enjoys it. He wants
To be part of the action,
Or thinks he does. But if
Push came to shove, he’d
Be the innocent bystander,
Or film me getting stabbed
And upload the footage on
Social media. He’s a voyeur
Of public pain and private
Shame; he loves over-sharing
As the vulnerable fall into his
Bony clutches. He’s a master of
Disguise and impersonation;
He fakes it in friend-zone to
Get into your death-wish
Knickers; he’s an expert upskirter
So make sure your undies match
When they lay you out. He’ll
Stay until the last gasp,
Still holding your hand. His
Palms are dank and sweaty
And he has to use Mitchum to
Mask the odour of rotting flesh.
If you had a past life he was
There; in the crowd, when you
Were crucified, beheaded,
Guillotined, hanged, or burned
At the stake. He was in his
Element. He sat under gibbets
And sang you nursery-rhymes;
Then he cut you down and sold
You to the surgeons, or waited
By your pauper’s grave to dig
You up for the body-snatchers.
He’s at his best in a pandemic:
Current events recall past
Favourites, like the Black Death
Or Spanish ‘flu. He can’t get
Enough of it and has been subject
To global restraining orders; banned
From all the world’s hospitals.
Even then he cannot keep away.
Lockdown means nothing to him.
I’d better watch my back, just
In case I slip up; he’s waiting in the
Wings for a sudden reveal.
So, meantime, until my revels
Are ended, stay backstage, in
The shadows, Mr Reaper; you
Can look but you can’t touch;
This is the story of my life: wait
Until I say the safe word and only
Then you can start filming the
Climax of my snuff movie. Enjoy
Your walk-on part and ogle
My stunt-double. Go back to your
Smelly bed-sit, shaped like a coffin;
To gaze at my full spread on your
Feature wall of shame; I’ll smile back
In the mirror over your empty bed.
I’ll be dead before I ever come
Back to yours: I’ll be the one who
Got away. No together for eternity
Bollocks, either. Amen to that.


Source/influence is the song “Baby don’t fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. My poem offers a response to the song where I reject the message it conveys. 

Kate Meyer-Currey was born in 1969 and moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her ADHD also instils a sense of ‘other’ in her life and writing, whether family, folklore, feminism or urban myth. Her chapbook County Lines (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2021) juxtaposes these realities. Other poems include “Family Landscape: Colchester 1957” (Not Very Quiet, September 2020), “Invocation” (Whimsical Poet, forthcoming), “Cailleach” (SageWoman, forthcoming), “Dregs” (Seinundwerden, forthcoming), “Gloves” (MacroMicroCosm, forthcoming), “Stream: Timberscombe” (A River of Poems, forthcoming), “Dulle Griet”, “Scold’s Bridle”, “Recconnaissance”, “Maman Brigitte” (RavenCageZine, forthcoming), “Phases of the Moon” (Hags on Fire, forthcoming), “Anthem for the Contaminated” (TrainRiver, forthcoming) and “Hilly Fields” (Pure Slush, forthcoming).

Each of Us Plows, by Lynn Fanok

Each of Us Plows
by Lynn Fanok

We toil and tear at the earth:
ever amending, turning it over.

We yell at clouds of rutted truths,
at the wheat in the fields fortifying
the millstones secured to our necks.
We—the coarse grain.

Lynn Fanok’s new book of poetry, Bread and Fumes (Kelsay Books), explores the cultural influences of her father’s Ukrainian heritage, and the complexities of being the daughter of a WWII labor camp survivor. Her poetry has been published in Painted Bride Quarterly, Tiny Seed Journal and several other journals. Lynn lives with her husband in Bucks County, Pennsylvania near farmland and woods. She leads a poetry series at a local independent bookstore.

doing time together during covid19, by Emalisa Rose

doing time together during covid19
by Emalisa Rose

I always liked that set.
It had a beige swirly
pattern with a tearose
motif, and a matched
group of wine glasses.
It sat in the curio next
to the kitchen where your
mother’s old corning ware
hid. We made a lasagna
(first time we cooked
together) cracked open
a bottle of burgundy, lit
Aunt Renee’s candlesticks
looked at the albums with
a nod to the elders that
passed. We talked till the
morning returned, clinking
our glass in a toast to the
life we created; said in the
mother tongue. It was nice.

When not writing poetry, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting with macrame and doll making. She volunteers in animal rescue and knits blankets for shelter pets. She has worked in Special Education. Living by a beach town provides much of the inspiration for her art. Some of her work has appeared in Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Literary Veganism, Cholla Needles and other journals.