Release of Summer 2015 Issue 6 (PDF edition)

We’re pleased to announce a small tasty treat for the summer — Summer 2015 Issue 6 can be downloaded here.

Red Wolf Journal Summer 2015 Issue 6


The poets with work in this edition are:

Marilyn Braendeholm
Gabrielle Bryden
Christopher Hileman
Annette Ozolins
Alan Toltzis
Richard Walker

You’re welcome to submit new poems for our upcoming Fall 2015 issue. Theme to be announced.

With pleasure,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Summer 2015 Editors

Revealed, by Marilyn Braendeholm

by Marilyn Braendeholm

I stood by the waves, they stooped white
with foam, their crest
flecking midday
sun, stars of cool
sea caught on breeze, and not a cloud
specked the sky, not
a gull, nor jib blown.
The day shimmered
brighter than song. And I stood there,
bone-tired, and
to me – nothing
was sorrowful.

Process notes: After a very unpleasant day, I stood at the end of Eastbourne pier, and felt refreshed by the sea breeze. This poem form is a “Minute Poem” — a total of 60 syllables. Sometimes it only takes a minute to find yourself again.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, and always keeps dog biscuits in her pocket for her blind Springer Spaniel. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work is published by Waterways Journal, Gnarled Oak, Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, three international print anthologies, and placed in the top 5 Writers’ Digest Chapbook Challenge twice. She blogs at The Chalk Hills Journal.

the old man and the parakeet, by Gabrielle Bryden

the old man and the parakeet
by Gabrielle Bryden

the parakeet squawks dis-ease
the owner is rusty and the cage old
the door is full and the bowl is open
the newspaper is stale and seed corrupt
the wings are cracked and the beak is clipped

the old man moans his shrinking world
the parakeet is mouldy and the house is deaf
the door is empty and the plate is closed
the phone is loud and the parakeet mute
the pain is not working and the drugs flare

it’s time said the parakeet to the old man

Gabrielle Bryden is an Australian poet published in a range of anthologies; print and online journals; and on Local and National ABC Radio. She has been published in Australia, the USA and the UK. In 1999 she won first prize in the Ripple’s Magazine poetry competition.
Blogs at

A dive so deep, by Gabrielle Bryden

A dive so deep
by Gabrielle Bryden

on that unbearably hot day,
humid air visibly simmering,
dark blue water summoning,
summer weariness and nothing to lose.

Who hasn’t dreamt of the deep dive,
where we are too deep to resurface,
too deep for unaccustomed lungs –
sinking fast to the bottom,
like a dropped anchor,
trying to make our way back to the top,
toward that world we are supposed to live in,
aching arms pressing though heavy water,
waking in gasps as the air runs out.

The great realisation
on waking from a dream,

you have a second chance.

Gabrielle Bryden is an Australian poet published in a range of anthologies; print and online journals; and on Local and National ABC Radio. She has been published in Australia, the USA and the UK. In 1999 she won first prize in the Ripple’s Magazine poetry competition.
Blogs at

Graduation, by Annette Ozolins

by Annette Ozolins

No one gets out alive
On and on and on and on
Moving into adulthood, in his own right, attached to a screen, in love–the third of
her kind–pretty and funny and not so bright
Their bodies into orbit at every close encounter
They are a tribe now
Touching one another, languid and confident
gossip of who banged who, who did who

I wish to impart some sort of something
To him, to them–subtle or overt–but age and indifference and criticism and
misunderstanding get in the way

My breast hurts
A reminder that Life with a capital L is not forever
There’s only one space and time continuum and I am on it
So are you
He is too, all of us, whether we like or not, know it or not, we are involved

There was a season to listen to voices other than our own
But that season has gone
We can no longer pretend the Mother of all mothers is invincible
We can no longer pretend

What if? How? I can’t. I will. One day.
None of that exists

It is time to fly or drop to our knees and never arise
Either way there is no time for anything else

Annette’s Process notes: “Graduation” is a piece about time and aging and mothering and letting go. While attending graduations, from high school, college, even middle school, one begins to use these passages as a time for reflection. The poem came out of one such moment. While watching high school students at their graduation party, huddled in the corner, completely self-contained, gossiping and enjoying each other’s company, it was clear that the adults, me included, were left out of these exchanges. Perhaps this is rightly so, each generation leaves the next generation behind, but it did illustrate the divide which happens over time between children and parents. It also illustrates what happens with time in general: Time moves on. It waits for no one. There is only now to do and be what we dream of.

Annette Ozolins is a filmmaker and actress with an education in Women’s Studies and Philosophy from Duke University. She was a founding member of The Downtown Playhouse in Los Angeles and has worked with activists, writers and directors such as Mike White (Enlightened, School of Rock), Luis Alfaro (Bitter Homes & Gardens, Black Butterfly) and Miguel Arteta (Star Maps, Six Feet Under). She produced the award-winning indie movie ( which highlights the contradictions between self-injury (a mostly hidden and shameful activity) and plastic surgery (a socially acceptable form of cutting and disfigurement). The movie was awarded the Adrienne Shelly Award for Female Filmmakers.

Wooden Head, By Christopher Hileman

Wooden Head
by Christopher Hileman

I wanted to be
a real boy way back then
and got my damn wish.
I fell for you hard,
skinned in seventeen places
scabbed and sore, torn up.
Had I stayed in wood
there would have been bashed edges
and splintered corners
but no bloody skin –
you ran from me just the same.
You grabbed my heart, tore
it out of my chest
and it shattered as if wood
into twelve pieces.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

Chair, by Dah

By Dah

Sunlight swells into buildings
rolls over my feet
gets trapped under my soles
and at this moment
there is nothing more to say

When you rose to leave
your skirt
made the sound of a bird
caught in my hands

In the distance your silhouette
dark, then gray, then
birds landing on a statue
make the sound of your skirt leaving

Overhead a low jet noise
I say something
but cannot hear myself
and across the table
your chair
is the emptiness left behind

Dah is the author of three books of poetry from Stillpoint Books. His fourth book, The Translator, will be published by Transcendent Zero Press in the summer of 2015. Dah lives in Berkeley, California, and is working on the manuscripts for his fifth and sixth poetry collections. He blogs at Words Of Dahlusion.

Summer 2015 Issue 6: Once Upon A Time

Red Wolf Journal Issue 6 (Summer 2015)
Our theme: “Once Upon A Time”


Cover art: Marc Chagall, The Promenade

Poems are stories. As if you didn’t already know. But the stories are eclipsed in shadow so you only get half or a quarter of it. The half or quarter carries the weight of the whole. The best poems inscribe a mood through observed, almost incidental, details. The surface details and action delineate feelings. Feelings are the real deal. Stories are steeped in mystery and enchantment as the title of this volume suggests. They prescribe a path, a journey, a quest because stuff happens. Bad stuff. The reader is hooked. Does the story hold out a promise of the happy ending? The human story is ultimately, to me, a quest for identity (Who am I? What is my place in the universe? What is the meaning of this universe?), which is why the reader is vested in the experience of its telling. It seems a grandiose thing to ponder. It, in fact, is an everyday thing. An experiential thing. In a good poem there is transformation by the time you get to the end of it. The mundane can be pretty epic. Anything can be a story. Whether or not life is a fairy tale, I just like to believe that the best poems tell a love story. It’s as if we depend on stories to save us. It is love that saves us. It is we who save each other.

So you tell us a story in a poem. Rather than tell the whole story, your poem pivots on a lyrical moment– let the delicate rendering of a moment tell a story. “Once upon a time” might as well mean “once upon a moment”. Sometimes the poem is the story. What does the act of fictionalizing do? It either transcribes a reality that’s out there, or it creates a reality that doesn’t exist out there. That only you and your reader knows. Now isn’t that just fabulous? Now it doesn’t have to be clear-cut at all. Fantasy does, in truth, intrude into reality (we all daydream don’t we?) and the best poems also play on the idea of rupturing ordinary reality. Story, it turns out, is the reality we create.


Interpret the theme however you wish. Submit poems to us by email here.


Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems in the body of an email.

Poems will be published in ongoing posts on this site. Each posting will be announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from May to July 2015 so please check back here. If you do not see your poem(s) appear, you may deem it as not accepted for publication. We will not be sending out any acceptance or rejection letters.

The entire collection will be released in PDF format in due course. An announcement will be made at that point.

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Summer 2015 Editors