Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Tuesday, May 31, 2022: Review of "Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry" edited by Peggy Dobreer

“There is no mind without body.”- Peggy Dobreer

      If you were like me (and I sincerely hope that’s NOT the case), you spent most of the first two years of the covid 19 pandemic trying to make sense of how to get out of bed, and live, in stir, for another day. It didn’t, and still doesn’t help to have the promise of a return to pre-pandemic life clawed back every time another covid strain makes itself known. So, to deal with the uncertainty, each of us chose to find a default position to adapt to a new normal, which, in reality, was/is not normal at all.

      Author, and poetry facilitator, Peggy Dobreer decided to make the best of the pandemic by offering, and still does, a daily morning guided meditation and generative workshop to assist other creatives from various artistic disciplines. With an emphasis on quiet, and “listening” (or intuiting), what goes on within the body, the result of this ongoing exercise is Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry (2022, Slow Lightning Press), a gem of an anthology born out of a need to make sense, as well as, keep nurturing the muse during a maddening time.

     Slow Lightning is divided into three chapters: 1) If Ands Maybe Buts: Heavy Metal, 2) Political Promiscuity: Stature & Statutes, 3) Things That Don’t Go Bump in the Night: Circles & Cycles. These are, as their names suggest, broadly themed writing prompts, but the range of poems within each of these chapters is diverse, and engaging. Here’s a sampling:

1)Muriel Karr’s “A Few Things About My Father”: Maybe he loved me deeply/the way he loved his dog--/that shining red Irish Setter, whose name was Beggar. (pg 12-13).

2) Jacinta Camacho Kaplan’s “Identity”: my identical twin, pushing and pulling a child/from me, together, always together (pg 18).

3) Janet Fitch’s “November 2016”: “We didn’t open the champagne for four years./It sat in refrigerators, under the stairs,/in the garage, the back of the closet./No celebration in those years./The ones who saw it coming did better than the rest./Their midnight humor guided us. (pg 32).

4) Brendan Constantine’s “Long Whistling”: There are a million hungers in an hour/and hope is an invalid ally. Given enough/quiet, I might eat the bed. (pg 30).

5)  Roberta H. Martinez’s “El Paso 2019”: You will know me by the target on my back/A target known in some parts of town/Chaparrita, viejita, but most of all/Brown/Brown of skin, Brown of experience,/Brown alma/Brown soul resonating with corridos, but not telenovelas,/Alma de nopal, llena de las experiencias/Of the generations that came before/Whose souls sang/Of a place without love, without light/Of a land that was so near and so far/So far (pg 34).

6) Erika Lane Enggren’s “Savored Time”: The mind speaks words/Like fallen raindrops…/So dampening in the moment but/settled after the storm (pg 45).

   Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry is a testament to the resiliency of the artistic mind, when faced with prolonged isolation, and limited contact. The virtual coming together of a collection of creatives speaks to the kindness, and respect, each one has for the other, as well as themselves personally. I hope to see more volumes in the future, and if you’re interested in taking part in Dobreer’s guided meditation/generative workshop, you’ll be doing you, and your muse, a tremendous service.You can contact Dobreer at adhocink@yahoo.com.

Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry, © 2022 Slow Lightning Press, Peggy Dobreer, editor, ISBN 979-878-6496186, 67 pages, $14.00 (USD), www.peggydobreer.com.

© 2022 marie c lecrivain

Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday, May 27, 2022: L. B. Sedlacek's poems "Harvest" and "Illumination"


She sells seaweed.  I read it

somewhere.  A blonde woman

collecting tons off the beach.

Seaweed is used in salads, soups

and sauces, shampoos and

soaps.  I read the label off

my shampoo bottle.  It is

plastic and pink and does not

have any seaweed.  Seaweed

picks up whatever’s in the

water so they have to test for

contaminants.  I tasted

seaweed once.  It was dried

and in chips.  I could only

take a small bite.  I couldn’t

swallow it.  I was squeamish.

I gave all of it away.  I tried

vegemite once, too.  The jar

sat in my cupboard until it

cracked.  Even then, I never

threw it away.


© 2022 LB Sedlacek







Cold cool cement

to keep the seawater blocked

while a family’s supper

sits on the table

lit by the footpath to the

stars and the

giant glass orb making

it safe for sea travelers.



Cold cool cement

empty but full of space with

chains keeping schoolchildren

from exploring where they

shouldn’t; and the stars

plus the giant glass orb retired

no longer needed in the computer

age where compasses are mere

souvenirs and sailors few

in number.

© 2022 LB Sedlacek


BIO:  LB Sedlacek has had poems and stories published in a variety of journals

and zines.  Her poetry books include “Swim,” “Simultaneous Submissions,”

“Happy Little Clouds,” “The Architect of French Fries,” and “Words and Bones.” 

Her first short story collection, "Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories"

was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2020.  In her free time, LB likes to

swim, read and play the ukulele.


Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tuesday, May 24, 2022: Alegria Imperial's haibun "Robins and Roses at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens"


Roses losing petals, lotuses dying on their shadow, a poisonous sumac inflamed, the promised turtle missing, but the persimmon tree pregnant, the spider lily swinging; I pick anise seeds and drink on the scent, pinch tips of dew studded mint, and then stumble on frog stones their absent eyes on summer flies–the water striders have long leaped to infinity–it’s autumn at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and after tracing the veins of a horse I figure a ficus has turned into from a knight on a horse by a fairy enchanted by his beauty, E and I skip the desert garden breathing heat off a muggy afternoon.

We pass by the Cranford Rose Garden again where I had posed beside a bronze sculpture titled Roses of Yesterday–this wisp of a woman ripened by love and longing sluiced by it in fluid lines. On her left arm, she cradles a clock’s face Time arrested engraved in words Perennis Amour (Love Eternal); on her right as if bidden, she caresses a bunch of roses that drip as if tears from her deep sad eyes. I had posed unabashed beside her, tainting the poetic moment, which I should have sipped in secret.

No perfume quaffs through the air even as we linger to hold on to each bloom thrusting petals on us for a touch. The gray sky stands by unconcerned as we lean toward a curved path to the main gate. Silence and distant chatter drop on my steps and a stirring in the yew branch. A robin has flit from it. The meadow ends and I shake off a leaf from my shoulders to find another leaf that has hitched a ride in a fold of my hood as we boarded the No. 1 train. It must have been the closed-in faces, the inward smiles, the inner rhymes I imagined beat in time with steel grating on steel and soon the scream of brakes that bid us to pour out of the steel doors even as we tighten our grip on moments we can’t soon recall that this haiku wrote itself–not about the roses or the absent turtle but a fleeting glimpse of


skittering on fallen leaves

our grip tightens

© 2022 Alegria Imperial

Bio: A former journalist in the Philippines, Alegria graduated with a degree of Literature in Journalism. Her discovery of haiku decades later, started her writing short Japanese poetry forms. Her works have since been widely published in international journals and anthologies with some gaining awards. Her three e-chapbook collections of contemporary haiku and monoku (one-line) can be accessed at The Haiku Foundation’s Digital Library. She immigrated to Canada 14 years ago, where she now lives.


Friday, May 20, 2022

Friday, May 20, 2022: Alicia Rose's poem "The Light"


The Light

I see the light as it fades in the distance, and I can no longer fight this drowning feeling of hopelessness.

One step forward is a glimmer of hope, but then two steps backwards and I’m lost again.

Mountain after mountain I climb it feels like an endless cycle of pain.

Until I see it.

I see the slightest glimmer of light.

I approach this foreign feeling and shy away taking one step backward.

Doubt and anxiety creep into my brain. They hiss, “You don’t deserve thiss”

But curiosity of this warm light feeling kept appealing to me to the idea of happiness.

I took two steps forward and felt the warmth of the light

Once the light kissed my skin I craved it.

I did all I could to get to the light.

Until one day I finally got a hold of the light inside of me. 

© 2022 Alicia Rose

Bio: “I’m a young twenty-something college student, and I’ve suffered from mental illness most of my life.The light at the end of my tunnel was helping others. I’m passionate about helping people in any way possible. My hope, with my writing, is not only to heal myself, but to help others.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022: Maria A. Arana's poem "Climate Change for Starters"

        SoCal Fire 2020 © 2022 marie c lecrivain

Climate Change for Starters


he said, we’d be dead by 2030

they said, AI would be independent thinkers and movers by 2045

she said, to not eat animals, try the nuts instead

but nobody tried cleaning up after themselves


money talked the big talk

and leaders did the walk

so many options to help the earth

so little time to try the energy


when there were too many people unaware

maybe ignorance was once the issue

the internet’s swallowing us—

mindful slaves to an improper utopia


he said, war would come

they said, there’s no stopping it

she said, to tame the bees, they’re already dying

and the earth spins further into misery


further into itself

exposing the bones we buried

do you think earth will wait for you?

earth has waited long enough…


time to die


(note: AI = artificial intelligence)

© 2022 Maria A. Arana

Maria A. Arana is a teacher, writer, poet, and editor. Her poetry has been published in various journals including Spectrum, The Gonzo Press, and The Kleksograph. You can find her at https://twitter.com/m_a_Arana and https://aranaeditingservices.com

Friday, May 13, 2022

Friday, May 13, 2022: Linda Crate's poem "We Owe You Nothing For Existing"

 you don't appreciate the strength,

the beauty, the power, and the magic

of women; and you want to demand


society, go home, you must be drunk;

respect is earned not simply given

and you've done nothing to make me 

respect you or your opinions—

always a woman is too this or too little that,

she can never be enough as herself;

too fat or too thin or too smart or too daft,

she's too creative or not creative enough,

too pretty or not pretty enough to pay her rent

in this world,

too hairy or she doesn't have enough hair;

so many have starved themselves and killed their

own spirits trying to become a perfect woman

for you—

i'll tell you something maybe you didn't know,

women are women as they are and who they are;

they don't need your approval or your endorsements to

be who they are but they should have your support

if you want our magic and our strength and our power

to protect you and to encourage you and to heal you

because we owe you nothing for existing.

© 2022 linda m. crate

Bio: Linda M. Crate's poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has ten published chapbooks, the latest being Hecate's Child (Alien Buddha Publishing, November 2021). 


A social media link: https://www.facebook.com/Linda-M-Crate-129813357119547/

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Heather G. Schubert's illustrations: "Alisyn", "Live Deliciously" and "Pen and Ink"

                                                         © 2022 Heather G. Schubert

© 2022 Heather G. Schubert

© 2022 Heather G. Schubert

Bio:  Heather G. Schubert wears many hats; among them are mother, priestess, teacher, artist, author, small business owner, girl scout troop leader, and more. She finds the fulfillment is each of these roles, but looks forward to the creative expression visual art allows her. Her favorite is mixed media artwork.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Tuesday, May 3, 2022: Pam Ward's two poems "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "The Wig"

© 2022 marie c lecrivain

Drop it like it’s hot.


If you’ve ever dropped your daughter

alone at the mall

Fifteen. Ponytail. Lipgloss & jeans.

Dropping her alone “to shop.”

Leaving her unleashed to meet “a friend.”

Offering her scrubbed, shined & young

a pan of hors d’oeuvres, wearing her

died & went straight to heaven grin.

If you ain’t never cheesed a lie

waved & said, “Bye, ya’ll have fun.”

Did the long fake-out waltz

like you strolled to your car

doubling-back, watching them

stop at Hot-Dog-On-A-Stick

where their soft kiss spears your own lung.

Becoming bloodhound, watching them roam

stalking through coats, shoes or scarfs.

Becoming mall-cop, espionage Mama.

A female James Bond

feeling a time-bomb tick in your bra.

If you’ve ever clocked a walk

hunted behind T-shirts & feet

feeling the raw heat of murder

while smelling fries and Dior

teetering between slaughter

and please Lord, make the boy sweet.

Creeping around Footlocker

or Starbucks corners

pretending to like shit you don’t need

eavesdropping while pretending to read.

If you’ve ever dropped your daughter

and fell on all fours

sniffing up pretzel blood

letting your hem lick the floor

forgetting you wore a skirt

stifling a growl between molars.

hounding See’s Candy teen love

going store after store

then baby, you ain’t never lived.


© 2022 Pam Ward

The Wig

Something about being beat 

bad as a kid makes you drool 

when some cruel shit rips 

somebody else’s neck.

It was the day I found 

that dollar blending

in the grass after school

some fool’s lunch money lost.

I scooped it up checking 

to see who was watching 

when I caught the tail-end 

of a pack of kids 

racing full force 

toward 54th street.

Back then a group meant

a fight had broke out 

so I ran down to 

check out the action.

Jackie wore a grape wig 

in fifth grade 

fluorescent like those 

Jolly Rogers sticks

spiked rigid, badly fitting 

her head it was way too big 

and we laughed saying 

it was probably her mama’s.

Lisa said she had this skin 

disease that caused all 

her hair to drop off in 

large clumps and we always

thought it was cancer

but that didn’t stop us 

from following her home

calling her Bee-hive 


or Purple Brain bitch 

in that mean sing-song 

chant that kids tease in.

Phillip Brown and Imit Ricks 

had her cornered in the back 

of Holy Name’s parking lot

holding books to her breasts

like a modern day Magdalene

praying to them 'please stop,' 

tears hammering her dress

everyone screaming, 

"Just take it off! TAKE IT!"

Imit pushed her good

and she tripped to her knees

her homework wept from her arms 

as he pranced around and danced

smacking her upside the head 

ranting & cursing like crazy.

Phillip had the wig in one hand

standing over her like God 

and she's clutching it with both fists

her toothpick thin arms

working good not to lose it

and she begged them, “please quit,” 

like we did when he whipped us.

But that's when Imit 

just ripped it right off

bobby pins shot through the air

her whole face a sad 

awful wreck as it went

tossed to a corner like a prayer. 

I remember we all got real 

quiet after that, gawking 

at the horrible bald

patches of droopy strands 

hanging limp like a street dog

and I walked home 

not wanting to go in 

and hid in the yard 

holding my dollar 

pitching small rocks  

at the fence.

© 2022 Pam Ward

Designer/Writer, Pam Ward recently released her poetry book Between Good Men  & No Man at All, World Stage Press. She also published two novels, Want Some Get Some, and Bad Girls Burn Slow, Kensington. A UCLA graduate, recipient of a California Arts Council Fellow, a Pushcart Poetry Nominee, Pam has published in Chiron, Calyx, Voices of Leimert Park, and the LA Times. She's currently working on a novel about her aunt’s dalliance in the Black Dahlia Murder, an event that shocked the world, happening in Pam’s own backyard. www.pamwardwriter.com