3 Poems by

On Going Back


Will I take a trip back

to my place of birth,

a country called Kenya.

Famed for its coffee fields

and year-long hot weather.


Will I leave the frosty winter

to journey near the equator

and let the sun seep into my skin,

the aroma of fresh beans

borrowing deep into my nostrils?


I always return to this place

In my thoughts when alone.

My home is harsh and icy now.

Leaves dry up and tumble down.

The skin on my hands turns flaky,

but I have spring to revive me.

© Khadija I Gure


Tug of War


A game that brought me enormous amusement

As a child, my friends and I played even in the mud

We pulled until we found victory or got dragged

Mud slipped between our bare toes


In my new school in the Midwest

Students wore shoes to play in gym class

Our shoes squeaked as we got dragged

We didn’t feel the sun or mud on our feet

© Khadija I Gure




I can’t be blind to what I eat

The meat I put in my body makes

me think about the live body of the

animal on my plate

It makes me think about the way

he or she trotted


I think about the sound my food

made on a daily basis

A sound that most likely spoke

to a certain emotional state

My plate is still warm and steaming

But my hunger has turned to a bitter

kind of cold


One that matches the blizzard outside

my window

I run my fingertips over the goose

bumps on my arms

© Khadija I Gure

Two Poems by Dean Fraser

Fractured And Broken

Is my fracking blues song…the creative process never ceases to astound me. Why is it a blues song? It grew that way…


Well I woke up this morning

Oh yeah, I woke up this morning

Been having this weird dream

At least I thought, can things be as they seem?

They wanna drill the Earth, fractured and broken

Are we supposed to believe a word these people spoken?


I got the fractured Earth blues

Oh yeah, the fractured Earth blues

Thinking what’s the use?

Seems someone’s gotta loose


Lookin’ around on the net

They’re doing it everywhere, what we get?

Earthquakes and tremors, flaming gas instead of water

Let’s tell ‘em what we think, it’s really time we oughta

They’re making their decisions profit before health

Changing geology forever and counting their wealth


I got the fractured Earth blues

Oh yeah, I got the fractured Earth Blues

Thinking what’s the use?

Seems someone’s gotta loose

How can we stop those insane actions?

Fracking apart the ground, chemical reactions

Make our voices heard loud and clear

Every time that new drilling rig starts to appear

Peaceful protest, reasoning don’t work with these guys

Harder their job, less profit they make, let’s open their eyes


I got the fractured Earth blues

Oh yeah, I got the fractured Earth Blues

Thinking what’s the use?

Seems someone’s gotta loose

© Dean Fraser


Embracing Nature, Only Natural




Urban environment

Disassociated from nature

Only nature encountered

A green blur

Seen from car or train windows

Rushing on by

Us humans have a deep

You could call it primeval

Existing right there in our DNA

Connection to nature

Our nature to be found

Within nature

Zombie-like existence

Living a half life

All too disconnected from nature

Truly wild areas


Somewhere to be scared of

Living 24/7 in completely artificial environments

Killing creativity

Deadening intuition

Then comes the need

Real nature is encountered

Take some of this artificial Comfort Zone out there as well…




And I see them

Those walking deep within ancient tranquil forest

Climbing high upon a mountain

Canoeing upon tranquil river

Headphones on

Plugged into music

Maybe I miss out here?

My music collection stays at home

Rather than joining me on walks

In nature

Parallels drawn in my mind

Painted in words

A concert

Favourite band or symphony

Wearing a motorbike crash helmet

Ensuring only half the experience

Coming away disappointed

What was all the fuss about?

Sensory underload




To exercise in nature

First choice every time

Walking or running

Tai chi or meditating

Purest natural setting

Far from only taking exercise

Oh, such more than ever taking exercise


On every level

My best ideas

Poetry or life

How often one and the same

Those ground-breaking ideas

Popped into my head

As they usually do

Way out in the wilderness

Or in the middle of deserted ancient Neolithic site

And very rarely in the middle of a busy city…

© Dean Fraser


Interview with Giorna Alzavola

Q: When did you start writing?

A:  At age four. It’s been a lifelong career.



Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A:  J. R .R Tolkien, Thich Nhat Han and Ho Xuan Huong.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: At night! Everybody is asleep and the world is quiet enough to think straight

Q:  Why do you write?

A:  To raise awareness about transgender matters and autistic matters. as an autistic and transwomen I think anybody could say my writing is a form of self preservation.


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: ‘’The road goes ever on and on’’ – J. R. R. Tolkien

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: KEEP ON WRITING. If you ever feel discouraged about your lack of fame just note that if you keep on putting work out there your chances of being discovered grow!

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have three books that I am absolutely proud of now. ‘’My name is Giorna Alzavola’’ By Alien Buddha Press, Coleuscluster;  self published, and ‘’Transgirl on THC’’ Also self published. You can find all three of them on Amazon under Giorna Alzavola.

Interview with Terah Van Dusen

Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing stories when everybody else did…in about the 3rd grade. The difference was I really, really liked it. My family bought me a typewriter in the fifth grade, and I remember my first big story was fiction written from the perspective of a large, orange suitcase. This suitcase travelled to Hawaii, where my mother lived. Really I was trying to write memoir but writing from my perspective made me too vulnerable. Plus I thought I was “supposed” to write fiction. Luckily later I discovered memoir.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: My biggest inspirations, in no particular order, are truth-tellers: Eminem (believe it or not), Tupac, Frank McCourt, Anne Frank, Lidia Yuknavitch, Jewel, Woody Guthrie, Elizabeth Gilbert, and fiction-that-reads-like-memoir by Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander. I am sure I am forgetting some. I am blown-away daily by new gems and new reads.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: People are going to hate this but, whenever it strikes me. Yeah, I mean, I’m not a 9-5 writer. I find the best time to write actually, if you can manage, is right after a life-altering (large or small) event happens. Almost in-the-moment. After a fight. After a job interview. After a psychic reading. When you’re really feeling something. Also, if it works out, writing in the middle of the night is fantastic. So quiet. So people-less.

Q: Why do you write?

A: I believe I started writing because I needed to work through some shit. I guess I wasn’t as good at verbalizing things. You know, I feel like writing is polite. It’s like, people can choose whether or not to engage in your whining, your opinions, your fantasies. When you’re just talking to them they don’t have much a choice. As a writer, I can share my ideas with the world, and some will dig it and some will not. But I am not imposing my ideas on the world. Writing is an elegant art form. Just black letters on a white page. The impact is there, but it is silent. There’s something beautiful about that. Something powerful and timeless.

Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” -Ernest Hemmingway

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: If the fire’s burning, fan it. Do not take that passion and interest for granted: it is a gift. The best way to become a writer is to go down to your office supply store, pick up two nice, large writing pamphlets, steal a pen from a bank, and just write whatever comes to mind. Literally, whatever comes to mind. Don’t think, just write. You are tapping into something which will guide you, which has a direction already. Also: the bigger the writing pad, the more you will write. I like drawing pads personally. So yeah, believe in yourself and write all the things.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yep. I’ve got two books of poetry available on Amazon. The first one is Love, Blues, Balance: A Collection of Poetry. The second, more recent one, is New Moon: Transformative Poetry and Quotes for Soul Searchers and Independent Folk. I’ve begun a collection of essays largely inspired by the #metoo movement. My hope is to publish that one independently within the next few months.

On Hearing that the Trump Administration Is Delaying Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill – Ethan Goffman

On Hearing that the Trump Administration Is Delaying Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 Bill

As Martin Luther King, Jr. put it
Sometimes “wait” means “never.”

What do they fear?
that Harriet will bleed monthly over all those fresh, green bills
A bloody stain on our history?

To some, women are dirtier than money
dirtier than ripping
A bawling child from its terrified parents.

© Ethan Goffman

Ethan Goffman has poems in Mad Swirl, Madness Muse, and Setu.  He has published non-fiction as a staff writer for Mobility Lab and the SSPP Blog, and as a freelance writer for The Progressive, Buzzflash, the Baltimore Sun, Grist, EarthTalk, and other venues.  He is the author of Imagining Each Other: Blacks and Jews in Contemporary American Literature (SUNY Press, 2000).


Interview with John Dorsey

Q: When did you start writing?

A:I started writing truly awful fiction with my cousin when I was around 11 or 12, after a few years of butting my head against a wall I decided to give poetry a try and after a few more years of writing that badly, found that it was the perfect fit for me. I been publishing since I was in high school.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I read a lot of Ted Berrigan and Everette Maddox, Frank Stanford as well. I’m inspired by my friends, both living and dead, folks like Rebecca Schumejda, Mike James, Kell Robertson, R.A. Washington, Scott Wannberg, and D.R. Wagner.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Mostly in the wee hours of the morning, between 3-7 a.m.

Q:  Why do you write?

A:  I’d go crazy otherwise.                     


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: I’m sure I do, but I’d rather read their whole works than think about some silly quotes.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: If you can see yourself doing anything else other than writing then do that, your life will be much easier.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Sure, go here,

Interview with Olta Totoni


Q: When did you start writing?

A: My first poem dates back in 1994. I wrote a poem for my lovely mother. I was ten years old. I thought that this would be the biggest surprise for my mother on 8 March (which is the Mother’s Day in Albania). I did not write anything for a long time and my inspiration came back in 2002 when I began writing small excerpts of my life without the intention of publishing anything. It was in 2008 that I published my first article and since then my writings were published in the Balkans and overseas.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I have read many books and I have been introduced to many writers, their world perspective, their styles of writings and their experience. At first, I was fascinated by French Literature. Honore de Balzac, his way of describing the characters and settings, the messages he conveyed were real and down-to-earth. With the passing of the time, I was influenced by British and American writers. This influence came from my studies-British and American Studies. We were assigned to read one novel per week. I read Emily Dickinson and she influenced my writing of poems, without titles so that the readers can put their own titles in them. British literature is very special to me. I can mention here writers like Samuel Becket and Harold Pinter both “father and son” of the Theatre of the Absurd; Doris Lessing who is the voice of the British feminism. I also have translated excerpts from British literature and it has helped me in understanding their writings. Translation is also a way of rewriting the poems, short stories, literature in general etc. Recently, I have been acquainted to a new “love” and he is the prolific writer Anthony Burgess. Literature doesn’t have borders for me.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Writing is a complex process that requires a lot of inspiration and concentration. Sometimes, the inspiration plays tricks on us, writers. There are periods in which you do not get a pen to write (even though I use a pencil). Sometimes, you keep on writing and writing and writing and none can stop you from doing this. Time and place is not important for me. I may be in a bus, by the sea, in a bar, at home, in the university, in the woods, at night, during the day. It depends on what inspires me. My imagination is infinite and I break the standard rules of writing.

Q:  Why do you write?

A:  Writing for me is an internal need. It is like the release of thoughts, ideas and feelings. It makes me feel better when I express my thoughts through writing. According to me, this is a way of communicating with others. You communicate through words and messages you want to convey. I believe in the power of words and I believe in the freedom of speech. I have never limited my thoughts. I write the way I think and that makes my writing genuine. I love the originality and purity of ideas. I write because that makes the readers reflect on their experiences, their lives and their perspectives. There is a triangle created between a writer-his/her writings and the reader. I write because the readers can get informed but not persuaded by my writings. They see with my eyes and they can see clearly.            


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Throughout my readings, I have kept notes on the quotations that seemed very meaningful to me. Sometimes, after a long time I read them and see if they give me the same sensation they gave me when I read them. My favourite quotes are from the American writer Carson McCullers. She has written them in the novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”:

“I am a stranger in a strange land.” 

“All we can do is go around telling the truth.”                                                                                   

“She stood in front of the mirror a long time, and finally decided she either looked like a sap or else she looked very beautiful. One or the other.”


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: I would say to them to stay always motivated and never stop writing. They should not be discouraged by others. They should read a lot in order to write a lot. A good writer should have their mind focused on reading other writers. Sharing the experience with friends and family can be of great help. I was lucky to share my writings with my mother who appreciated literature a lot.


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yes, of course. Recently, I have published the book “Diary of the Time”. It is a collection of articles published in magazines and newspapers. There are 29 articles and one interview (in English and Albanian). This book contains 14 articles dedicated to the British culture, literature and politics. There is an introduction that is dedicated to the future/aspiring writers and especially those that will be focused on British studies. It is a guide for new researchers that will go in depth of British Culture and academia.

5 Poems by Linda Imbler

A Groovy Life


I want a groovy life,

one not filled with ransom demands or imaginary slights,

or plots disguised as needy pleas.


But, one with:

Hope for gifts given freely,

with reciprocity never demanded,

instead, each given according to one’s heart.


Music – pure, innocent

lyrics both beautiful

and deep in their meanings.


A seat from which to watch

the loveliness of nature unfold,

early or late in the day,

letting imagination name the colors.


Lastly, time in which to fulfill these desires.

All I can do is ask.


© Linda Imbler

Beautifully Broken


I dreamt last night,

but never slept,

unfolding my story

as loose images,

without plot,

without resolution,

trancing along to the blur

of the ceiling fan above me.


The woeful shatter

of my soul,

felt and heard,

above the dissonant void

of this room,

as relevant tears.


I, beautifully broken.


© Linda Imbler




In the beginning,

he could speak in words and esoteric phrases

that explained all our strange days.


Near the end,

as his world spun sideways,

he no longer feared his visage

reflected from the whiskey bottle.


Finally, he morphed into some demented,

frustrated clown

who claimed his name as its own.


In the final few seconds,

those creatures he spoke of so long ago

took him to the desert

and put him on the blue bus.


This is the end.


© Linda Imbler


Silent Meal


Their relationship did not die

with shouts and tears,

but only from the silence

in response to his talk.


Her new-found love

birthed the deafness

which kept her from hearing

his voice and his still-beating heart.


Perhaps when he’s gone,

she can find a heartbeat app

for that phone that so engaged her

while he sat at the table with her, alone.


© Linda Imbler

Walking the Road On the Cool Side of Infinity


He walks along the rim of the highway,

this man with the Gypsy soul.

He trods the vagabond paths.

He hears his feet slap the pavement.

He feels his fingers tap, tap, tap along the side of his leg.

He responds to an inner song that he alone hears.


All his necessities have been expended

and his wallet feels thin.

But this mobile man doesn’t worry.

There will always be another meal

and another small job in the next town.

Endless time is never his enemy.


What would scare most,

(he calls them the ‘jammed-up’ people) thrills him.

These new pleasures make him feel alive.

They help him find joy in all new, foreign places.

This road, which is long, lean, immeasurable and serpentine is his pal.


The snapping of his fingers matches his footfalls.

There’s too much living to do to sit and contemplate the limited ‘back then.’

So he keeps moving within this expanse

to help him forget that empty house,

that empty bed, and that backyard

with the empty sandbox.


Therefore he rambles on and all is well. Cool!

The new town is in sight!

This transformed wanderer believes it’s time

for the next new adventure.

Bring it on!


© Linda Imbler

Interview with Ann Christine Tabaka


Q: When did you start writing?

A: I wrote my first poem at the age of 14.  It was for an annual magazine that my Junior High published.  The magazine published art, stores, photographs, and poetry of the students.  It was 1969, and the Vietnam War was very present on all our minds.  My poem was called “The Young Soldier.”  I wrote the typical rhyming love poems and loss poems as a teenager, but also quite a few darker poems that were free verse and intense.


Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: I never was big on reading poetry books of the famous poets.  In fact, I hated to read until I was an adult.  Even now, I mostly read poetry books that have been published by my fellow peers.  I do like C. S. Lewis, but he is not considered a poet.


Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: Any and all times of the day, whenever anything catches my eye or mind.  Although I do find myself waking up in the middle of the night and turning on the light to write.  I always keep a note pad and pen by the side of my bed, and carry one with me everywhere. 


Q:  Why do you write?

A: I started writing just to record my thoughts and feeling, like a diary.  I wrote to vent pain, sorrow, and frustration; to capture the beauty of nature, memories of past events, and love.  Within the past two years I decided that I wanted to share my words with the world.  I want a part of myself to live on in the universe after I am not longer here.                                            


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”  Oscar Wilde


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Keep your eyes and mind open to everything around you.  You never know when that encounter in the grocery store can end up becoming a poem (it did for me).  Always carry a note pad and pen with you.  Always write whatever comes to your mind, even if it is just one phrase or sentence.  When you go back to it later it can end up becoming the basis of something special.  Just write, write, write. 


Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: I have seven self-published books out, six of them are poetry books (two of those ae Haiku & Senryu), and one memoir about finding my family.  All my books are available for purchase on Amazon.  Overcast Mind, It is still Morning, When Angels & Dragons Collide, Everlasting, The Sound of Dragonfly Wings, and Reaching for Dawn.                               

Ann Christine Tabaka has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from publications. She lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are: Ariel Chart, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, Oddball Magazine, The Paragon Journal, The Literary Hatchet, The Stray Branch, Trigger Fish Critical Review, Foliate Oak Review, Bindweed Magazine, Raven, RavensPerch, Anapest Journal, Mused, Apricity Magazine, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, Scryptic Magazine, Ann Arbor Review, The McKinley Review.

*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)


Interview with Roxana Nastase


Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing poetry when I was around ten and prose at around fourteen.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A: As I have always been reading a lot, it is a bit difficult to say who is my favourite writer, but I  can remember in detail St-Exupery’s books, as well as Victor Hugo’s.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A: When I start, I write all day long and well into the night. For instance, the other day, I started at 7 a.m. and finished at 1.30 am. I know I have to learn to pace myself, but as long as I have inspiration, I don’t seem able to stop.

Q:  Why do you write?

A: It’s a compulsion, if you want, or the result of a very active imagination. I have a lot of projects lined up and too little time, unfortunately. My fingers won’t move as fast as I want on the keyboard and, of course, everything must be reviewed at least five times if not more.

Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A: Of course, especially from St-Exupery and Oscar Wilde. I could mention: “I have no right, by anything I do or say, to demean a human being in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him; it is what he thinks of himself. To undermine a man’s self-respect is a sin.” (Antoine de St-Exupery).

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A: Never give up. The beginning is not great but you won’t get better if you don’t persevere.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A: Yes, a few. I wrote a few crime novels under my real name. In the McNamara series, I have already published two stand-alone novels: Mayhem on Nightingale Street and Scents and Shadows. The novel A Churchgoing Woman is not part of a series for the time being. I have already published two stand-alone novels in MacKay – Canadian Detectives: A Suitable Epitaph and An Immigrant. I also wrote a play, but only in Romanian because it is about a historic event from my country’s past. In June, the third novel in McNamara Series will be released: Relative Bonds.

Under my pen name, Rowena Dawn, I have a paranormal romance series, The Winstons, with two stand-alone novels: Becka’s Awakening and Matt’s Dilemma; a suspense romance series, Perfect Halves, with two stand-alone novels, Double-Edged and Eyes in the Dark; a clean wholesome romance, Mr (Almost) Right, a romance novel, Leap of Faith. Soon, the third novel in The Winstons Series, Jay’s Salvation and the third novel in Perfect Halves, Pulled In, will be released.