Tim Kahl: “Song of the Deeply Underappreciated”

Song of the Deeply Underappreciated

Who is in charge of the ratings for this fine day
turning gray around the edges? So many hard objects
are jockeying for the number one position. A bright
idea is gaining on them, and the weather is always
a solid contender. What will hold my attention? It has been
made to be grabbed, but I would like some caressing.
Perhaps a ripple through the grass or a vague form
settling on an unconcerned rock. I smell the exhaust
of a handheld machine. Now there’s this song of the deeply
underappreciated trying to climb to the top of the charts.

*This poem first appeared in the anthology Open: Post Pandemic Anthology of Literature.

Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) The String of Islands (Dink, 2015) Omnishambles (Bald Trickster, 2019) and California Sijo (Bald Trickster, 2022). His work has been published in many journals in the U.S and abroad. He is also an editor of Clade Song [http://www.cladesong.com]. He is events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Alliance. He builds flutes, plays them and plays guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos and touches on many other instruments from around the world. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.

Syed Raian Abedin: “your shadow”

your shadow

My shadow touches the wind around us and
cuts my soul to place it in your arms.
Sometimes I draw myself as a stilted stick
figure with my hands on my head. Sometimes
I let the simplicity of it remove my shadow
from your gaze. People paint with their hearts
and try to make it a song of love. I let my
shadow fall into yours and mix together, black
ink on black ink against the night sky create
warmth likening to a forehead kiss. I am grief
and I am love. These two try to coalesce and
wander around us, they become the wind that
cut me. It’s been a few minutes and all you’ve
done is look at me and all I’ve done is look at
you looking. It’s been years and we are still
here, placing our grief and love on our
shadows that never lost touch. No one gets up
to find their shoes and walk away. This is the
only way for me to tell you I am here.

Syed Raian Abedin is an avid learner in all things pertaining to art and literature. He is one of the founders as well as an Editor-in-Chief of Kitchen Sink: A Literary Journal, the first online journal in Bangladesh dedicated entirely to poetry. 

George Freek: Two Poems

Poem Written in November (After Tu Fu)

I part my curtains and stare
at the distant moon.
Beyond the dead moon,
the stars are dying.
I lay alone in my bed.
Clouds huddle together,
speaking of nasty weather.
The blue grass at the river’s edge
is frozen. It will snow.
It won’t be long.
I’ve reached sixty.
Spring is still far off.
I watch leaves fall from the trees.
Life is a terminal disease.
I suddenly fall to my knees.


Night Thoughts (After Mei Yao Chen)

I can see nothing moving
on this dark night.
The sky is a black pit.
The moon is a thin slit.
There’s no one
to share wine with.
In a bare oak tree,
I stare at a heron’s nest.
The young have departed.
The nest is now empty.
I’m sixty-three.
I drink my wine alone.
When young I’d find
a symbol for a poem.
But herons
and that oak tree
mean nothing now to me.

George Freek’s poetry appears in numerous Journals and Reviews. His poem “Written At Blue Lake” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His collection Melancholia is published by Red Wolf Editions.

Margot Block: “Untitled”


_in the darkness
we speak out our feelings
protected by our dimmed perceptions
words in the morning are easily denied
attributed to moonlight and wine
and you do not fool me when I touch you
you come undone when things slip into comfort
you run away and brace the winds and test your strength
because this story is nothing new
and you are not the first story waiting to happen
to spill into the sunlight

Margot Block has been writing since the age of fourteen and has been published in Zygote Magazine, Contemporary Verse 2, Juice, the Collective Consciousness, Voices, Grub Street Literary Magazine, Bakwa Magazine, Cholla Needles, and the online journals BlazeVox, Kaleidoscope Online, the Bombay Review, and Kritikos: A Postmodern Journal of Cultural Sound, Text and Image. She participated in the high school mentorship program with the Manitoba Writers Guild, working with canadian poet Carol Rose. She won first prize in a poetry contest sponsored by the Writers Collective and an honorable mention in a poetry contest with the Lake Winnipeg Writers Group.

Richard Dinges, Jr.: “The Plane”

The Plane

A jet-fueled torpedo
slices sound into
sharp-edged fragments
that sever wind’s
soft brush through pine
needles, splits blue
sky with a white
contrail that slowly
blurs with the plane’s
retreat across a far
horizon and roars
dissolve into a quiet
blush of breeze.

Richard Dinges, Jr. lives and works by a pond among trees and grassland, along with his wife, two dogs, three cats, and ten chickens. WINK, Green Hills Literary Lantern, SBLAAM, Roanoke Review, and Home Planet News most recently accepted his poems for their publications.

Neal Zirn: Two Poems


Walking in the foothills,
together, you wearing that wide-brimmed,
floppy hat, which cost you dearly when you
flirted with what amounted to a salesboy,
right in front of me, as if I were your cuckold,
and you were my hotwife, even though we
were never married.

Step by step, stride for stride,
we negotiate the path, with wild grasses
marking our way, grey clouds overhead
like boats without sails, drifting: the day
a circle, your tenseness palpable,

the wind blowing by us like someone we
can’t remember, like you with your secrets,
and your thinking about things you think
I don’t know.


On Your Leaving

Things end. Except for those that don’t.
Like the serpent’s circle or parallel lines
that never meet.

It is said that the Buddha experienced
a hundred-thousand past lives the night
before he attained enlightenment, and that
we exist within an infinite past that is behind
us and an infinite future that is in front of us.

You may believe that something is over,
but truly, that may not be the case. I ask,
what can eventually cease that never really

Your leaving was like the autumn leaves
that have fallen to the ground, and have been
covered up by the first snows of winter,

waiting for the thaw to be revealed.

Neal Zirn writes, “I was born and raised in the Bronx and I am a retired chiropractor. My work has appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and Canada including Blueline, Mudfish, Nerve Cowboy, Concho River Review, The Dalhousie Revue, The Big Windows Review, and Shot Glass Journal. I have placed seven times in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest and my chapbook, Manhattan Cream, was published by MuscleHead Press.”

Peter Aronson: “Green”


A sea of green I see, from every tree house portal, a shimmering, gleaming, billowing symphony of green, green leaves shaped like fat needles, curvaceous lakes, Christmas trees, ovals with jagged edges; Green – spindly, jutting, and flowering, bushes, weeds, plants of all sorts, stretching, poking, screaming, oblong, skinny, bulbous – all luminous green; a trimmed green lawn soaked in morning dew; a lone brown-breasted robin nibbling, lost in a sea of green; the cacophony of birds chirping, chiming, hooting, cawing, whistling, caroming from tree to tree, yup – all green; and even the occasional pink peony bursting, exploding, an exclamation point in Mother Nature’s unwavering, unrelenting, unstinting sea of … the infinite shades, a painter’s palette, lime, seafoam, jade, forest, pickle, spruce, to name a few, every view, every vantage; spiced with the smell of freshly cut green grass, seasoned with a whiff of green basil, green mint, green thyme, green sage, erupting, volcanic like … everywhere. Really, nothing but … green.

Peter Aronson writes, “I am a former journalist and attorney and now I write short stories, children’s books and essays. My most recent book, Mandalay Hawk’s Dilemma: The United States of Anthropocene, a middle-grade novel about kids fighting global warming, was published in December 2021. (For more info about my books, please see www.peteraronsonbooks.com.) My short fiction has appeared in The Coachella ReviewShark ReefPotato Soup Journal, and Bright Flash Literary Review.”  

David Lipsitz: “Shakes Hands with Impermanence”

Shake Hands with Impermanence

I appreciate hands,
those with natural gifts and learned skills,
admire the ones that push aside the ordinary and plain.

Some make flour rise with free spirits,
direct ingredients from the farmer’s market
to act in a culinary play.

Others merge planks of wood to build custom furniture and floors,
with beauty and function,
or cut right-angled shelves to shelter food, books, and ideas.

Skilled potters mold clay, form and glaze ceramics
with the fulcrum of eyes in their fingers,
make objects that will hold things and balance the weight of rooms.

Jewelry makers place select metals and gems into circles of light.
Fabric craft hands create unique coverings to give comfort
for people, walls, and naked floors.

Balancing nuances of colors,
artists draw and paint from ethereal dreams.
Some carve living features into the hearts of wood and stone.

Musicians use keys, opening sounds from sensory stories,
swirling in space with tapping steps
of barefoot notes, dancing in the sky.

These creative ones, listen to fleeing moments,
hear silent voices,
gently shake hands with impermanence.

David Lipsitz started writing poetry 50 years ago. His poems have appeared in The Big Windows Review, Washington Square Review, From The Depths, Chaffin Journal, Cape Rock, Main Street Rag, and other poetry publications.

Joe Baumann: “Where Ghosts Live”

Where Ghosts Live

Joe Baumann’s fiction and essays have appeared in Phantom Drift, Passages North, Emerson Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Iron Horse Literary Review, Electric Literature, Electric Spec, On Spec, Barrelhouse, Zone 3, and many others. His debut short story collection, Sing With Me at the Edge of Paradise, was chosen as the inaugural winner of the Iron Horse/Texas Tech University Press First Book Award, and his second story collection, The Plagues, will be released by Cornerstone Press in 2023. His debut novel, I Know You’re Out There Somewhere, is forthcoming from Deep Hearts YA. He can be reached at joebaumann.wordpress.com.