Royalty & Other Poetry by Dee Allen

Onlin Open Mic – 2021

Come read the great work of Dee Allen! His poetry stands strong with its deep imagery and important topics.

My Favorite Line: “We’re made for Freedom like our tribal royal forebears were.”


                                                   There are no more

                                              kingdoms or dynasties

                                              displayed on any map.

                                                        Mass Media

                                                       has them all.

                                             Fiefdoms in abundance.

                                                 Cults of personality

                                                  in high-definition

                                                          ultra 4K.

                                          The beautiful people seen

                                        on the flat television screen

                                                      the ordinary

                                            less glamourous would

                                         follow follow follow follow


                                                     For as long as

                                                    cameras flash,


                                                  & the paparazzi

                                                   have the tacky

                                                 red carpet ready,

                                                  actors & models

                                            will be kings & queens


                                                    their children

                                             princes & princesses

                                                          & their

                                        multitudes of fans, willing

                                               subjects to royalty.

                                                   W: 4.19. 2020

                          REV: Martin Luther King Birthday 2021



I’m feeling confessional.

So I should 

Break down and confess:

I was an abused child.

As a child, I was constantly abused

By other people’s children.

W: 9.29.11

                                  EVERY TWENTY YEARS

                                          in America, it seems,


in ourselves

     as African people

          w/ African culture

                 escapes from

                           the steel cage

                                         Oppression forged for it

                                                   & flees

                                                         @ large

                                                                from state

                                                                          to state

And it should. We’re made for Freedom

like our tribal


                                forebears were.

After all, 

we carry

             traces of

                   the Motherland

                         in our blood

                                   & decolonised minds—

W: 11.22.17

                                                          Dee Allen.

African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California U.S.A.

Active on the creative writing & Spoken Word tips since the early 1990s. Author of 5 books [ Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater and Skeletal Black, all from POOR Press, and from Conviction 2 Change Publishing, Elohi Unitsi ] and 34 anthology appearances [ including Your Golden Sun Still Shines, Rise, Extreme, The Land Lives Forever, Civil Liberties United, Trees In A Garden Of Ashes, Colossus: Home, Impact and the newest from York, England’s own Stairwell Books, Geography Is Irrelevant ] under his figurative belt so far.

Who Am I & Other Poetry by Lynn White

Online Open Mic -2021

Lynn White is a shining poetry with the blend of self reflection and reflection of the world into the bite size pieces we need. Come read her wonderful work to start your week off well!

My Favorite Line: “Would I want to face the person hindsight made me.”

Who Am I

When did I last know who I am?
I wonder if it when I was a child,
when I made up stories
from my imagination.
Was I separate then
from the imaginary children
with imaginary parents
and imaginary friends.
where my story began
and where I ended.
I don’t remember.

Perhaps the story ended before I began.
Perhaps the two began together.
Perhaps they may end together,
or eternally
I cannot say.
I never could.

Did I ever know who I am?

First published in Literary Yard, October 2016

I Am A Child

I am a child of the revolution
created by the wake of
fascism and imperialism,
that sought to construct
a more just society.

I am a child numbed by poverty,
stultified by working class conformity,
of a mother who wanted better for me,
but also wanted to keep me the same.

I am a child of these contradictions
who became a rebel
in the cultural revolution
of the rock and roll generation.
Who was liberated by student life,
by control of fertility,
by other places,
by the music and art
all parents hated.

I am still that child.
This is what made me.
This is what shaped me and
became part of my present,
became part of my future.

Sometimes I have tried to escape it.
Sometimes I still do.


We thought we’d done it!
Created the basis for a future
based on peace and love and civil rights.
Even a pandemic couldn’t stop us at Woodstock.
We were unstoppable!
In diverse countries
we saw the rebels become statesmen.
We thought the struggle was over.
And now with hindsight,
I wonder if we would do it again
now we know what happened next.
And if I could go back
with that knowledge,
would I want to?
Would I want
to face
the person hindsight made me.
And with hindsight,
would I be there for me to find?

First published in Gyroscope Review, Fall, 2020


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal and So It Goes.


Find Lynn at: and

Universal Discretion & Other Poetry by Scott Thomas Outlar

Online Open Mic -2021

Scott Thomas Outlar takes a look in the direction of the existential with his enjoyable word play. Check out his work below!

My favorite line, “Love is a blank check/an IOU theory, centered in zeroes, bundled in pairs, soon cashed, when cards, start crumbling.”

Universal Discretion

grappling with ghosts

      elusive shadows

                 phosphorescent fingers

           grasp at halos

                         rings of smoke

                   and sacrifice

         keep signaling back

                  to the starting gun

                      began with a bang

                             now begging for whispers

               whimper into the void

           and sigh

groveling with gusto

         ecstatic eyes

                    holy at the center

              caramel and crimson

                           feast of queens

                       and folly

               fools over time

                      become wise or winos

                             end with a flourish

                                     bone dry and thirsty

Scattered Ages

Snapshots of mood & emotion

The mouth of death
and its inevitable yawn

Plagues throughout time
our emergent rise from the muck & mud

My ancestors didn’t starve in the cold
before passing on their swagger

and neither should I
succumb to a sin not my own

nor suffer the karma
that’s been cleansed from my soul

I caught 18 falling leaves this autumn
each one blessed with a wish still to make

Every yesterday failed to dig my grave
tomorrow remains a promise of the wind

Of Crystal Castles and Crashing Waves

Into the breach!
(even if an abyss)
march, hut, two
x 4 x 6 [+] 64

God is an equation/a flux in the field
scattered about
slung throughout
yet unified
somewhere safe
behind the scenes

Whether your answers
or not

Whether your prayers
find promise
or go up in smoke
as signals dispersed
by the sands of…

Time out!
(space shift)
calm, breathe, sigh
x siren x stargaze [-] confusion

Love is a blank check/an IOU theory
centered in zeroes
bundled in pairs
soon cashed
when cards
start crumbling


Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He guest-edited the 2019 and 2020 Western Voices editions of Setu Mag. Selections of his poetry have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Bengali, Dutch, French, Italian, Kurdish, Malayalam, Persian, Serbian, and Spanish. His sixth book, Of Sand and Sugar, was released in 2019. His podcast, Songs of Selah, airs weekly on 17Numa Radio and features interviews with contemporary poets, artists, musicians, and health advocates.

Follow: More about Outlar’s work can be found at   

Pages to Ponder: Emotionally Broken by Shiela Denise Scott

Emotionally Broken by Shiela Denise Scott is an honest and open window that peers into the heart of a pure love’s grief. Dedicated to the love of her life who was sadly taken from her, it holds the weight of such tragedy with a gentle touch. The book is a heartbeat, with each poem being the throb of ache in tandem with the swell of joy to have experienced the taste of love. The pureness of her heart awakens hope beyond the grief while maintaining its beautiful legacy. For anyone who has lost a loved one, this book is a soothing and validating read.

Author: Shiela Denise Scott

Get the book at:

My Favorite Quote:

“Heartbroken pieces embraced soulless kin, Journeys dead end find compassionates fate.”

Read an Excerpt:

Happy Holidays, Ponderbots!

Happy Holidays, Ponderbots!

This year has been a rollercoaster and it’s time to take a break to rest and recover! Ponder Savant will be back come the new year, but for these last couple weeks of December there will be a holiday pause to revel in the joy of the season.

In whichever way you celebrate during these times I wish you all to keep safe, find excitement in the little things, and may your soul feel replenished!

See you in 2021, my fellow artists!

-Mia Savant

In a Fog of Missing You – Original Song by Mia Savant

To What We Lost – Wrapping up

Wrapping up the series, I wanted to share with you an original song I wrote about the greatest lost I’ve ever experienced. About a decade ago I was pregnant and in a dangerous divorce. In order to protect my child I placed her for adoption in the arms of a loving family. Over the years I have had thousands of emotions coursing through me regarding this, each one powerful, most of them painful, but also filled with love and gratefulness. When I feel these waves, I take it in, embrace its force, and then let it go out with the tide. This song is a moment in that wave, and is dedicated to my daughter who I love with all that I am.


I’m usually known that I have a thing or three to say

I’ll weave you a picture and then again in crochet

I don’t shy from expression

And I run from oppression

So, I don’t know why I’m acting this way

But you’re the only thing

Where silence is my reverency

Still I wish I wasn’t weak

And I could find something to speak


And I keep thinking

I’m gonna find the words

The ones that you deserve

Perfect as you

But every time I try to find them

I seem to be denied them

Perfectly out of view

I am lost

In a fog

Of missing you

So, silence will have to do

The goal was always for me to stand in front of you

I’d take every hit and carry it all so you wouldn’t have to

But what phrase can I give to comfort your fears

When all of mine now soaked in tears

I’m sorry

Is bleeding

From me


And I keep thinking

I’m gonna find the words

The ones that you deserve

Perfect as you

But every time I try to find them

I seem to be denied them

Perfectly out of view

I am lost

In a fog

Of missing you

So, silence will have to do

Cuz you’re the only thing

Where silence is my reverency

A Parting – Original Music by Acoustic Librarian

To What We Lost – Acoustic Librarian

Listen today to this bittersweet song from Acoustic Librarian. A song that embraces the timeless loss of a relationship.

I saw you dancing across the room;
I smiled, but you did not see.
Last month I would have been by your side;
Now both of us are free.

When I’m alone, thing about you,
Some memories are hard to forget.
Time spent with you, the touch of your hand,
A parting I did not expect.

You said it’s over between us,
A dream, an illusion I’d thought would last.
Now when I see you, everything’s changed,
But it’s hard to let go of the past.

Often I wonder what went wrong;
Was one of us to blame?
Did what we had end far too soon,
Or is this just part of the game?

Sometimes I wish I’d never known you;
Missing you now is still hard to bear.
Being together I took for granted;
Now I’m all too aware.

Now at parties I’m with other people;
Maybe you’re there, but I don’t look around.
Still at times, loneliness haunts me,
Even as part of a crowd.

Did our parting hurt you at all?
Was I so easy for you to forget?
Now I see you with someone else;
And it’s too late for regrets.


Acoustic Librarian is a songwriter, open mic performer and technology librarian. He lives in Orange County, California with his wife and their two cats.


Follow him on Instagram, @AcousticLibrarian or Twitter, @AcousticLBR

Escort Service and Other Poetry by Mike L. Nichols

To What We Lost – Mike L. Nichols

In captivating rawness, Mike L. Nichols expresses his experience of losing his mother. His words pull you into an understanding of the loss of oneself within such grief.

Escort Service

I didn’t expect a weathered man
my age wearing a Stetson hat,
one thumb hooked in the pocket
of filthy jeans, to come drifting
from behind the rusted yellow
dumpster in the back-alley of the
Blue Moon Gentlemen’s Club.
My grandfather, who drank himself
to death twenty-five years before my
birth, escorting me to the next plane
when the bullet torpedoes quick
through my whiskey soaked brain.

Who makes these assignments,
some cherubic bureaucratic being?
Probably not God. He’d have bigger
things to see to, what with tsunami’s
and hurricanes washing people away.
Unattended toddlers tipping into
irrigation canals. But it could be He
purposely picks who the escort will be
just for a laugh at the look on the new
ghost’s face when a stranger floats
into view. Why wouldn’t God have a sense
of humor too? He must get bored, telling
the same old jokes to the angelic host.

“A pirate stumps into a bar . . .”

As it was, I couldn’t stand by and watch Mom
waste away, age two decades overnight and die
after the last round of chemo was several
months behind. Instead, I stood on the other side
of her bedroom door while she sank,
awash in a private sea of pain meds.
Maybe she didn’t show at the Blue Moon
out of resentment for all those days I hid
doggy-paddling through bottles, drifting
off on a stone pipe’s smoke. Leaving her
before she could leave me.

Proximate C.O.D.

I followed the simple set of instructions
promising power over death while
offering nothing for the alternative.
No means to cork the shuddering
grief at graveside.

Dehydration’s the danger.
If I can just plunge the nutrients
and some water into her
throat every 2 – 3 hours
there’s cause to be hopeful. Life doesn’t
feel like an illusion
when I’m wiping the shit
from her ass again.

Random stars twinkle
coyly at me while I wait for
some sympathetic or sagacious
presence to shout back from
the blackness that’s
swallowing me.

Magic Number

The threshold of sunsets looms at
Against my will, I circle toward it.
When I cross over, how can she be
my mother any longer? Her death
will be renewed. Her existence growing
cobweb thin. In perpetuity younger than me.
To be a child older than your mother must
violate some rule.

I was driving yellow trucks across
the carpet when I heard her hymn
coming from the ironing room
and for a moment I was frightened,
believing an angel was singing.
Drawn by the sound I stood and scuffed
my feet across the carpet toward it.
Fear of silencing her song held me
peering in at the threshold.

I wasn’t listening whenever it was
that I crossed the verge into adulthood.
I missed the moment. I vaguely believed
some secret knowledge would have been
instantly imparted. An understanding
greater than a child’s. A defining equation,
16 – 48.7 > 17,782

When they cart away my coffin
will all things be equal?


Mike L. Nichols is a graduate of Idaho State University and a recipient of the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. He lives and writes in Eastern Idaho. Look for his poetry in Rogue Agent, Tattoo Highway, Ink&Nebula, Plainsongs Magazine, and elsewhere.

Follow: Find more at

How Many People Have to be Lost & Other Poetry by Linda M. Crate

To What We Lost – Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate boldly takes an honest and heartfelt look into some difficult topics. She brings awareness to the struggle of mental health and suicide as she honors the memory of her Uncle.

how many people have to be lost?
my gran lost her son,
i lost my uncle;
the world lost an artist—

i think of him

twenty years later,
and i wonder how different
life would’ve been had his
demons not have been strong
enough to convince him

that his life didn’t matter;

everyone says there’s a stigma
around mental health

so let’s break it—

how many people have to talk about
their issues, their pain, and the people they’ve lost?

how many people have to suffer in silence
just so you can be comfortable?

i think of how easy it is
to write an email, a letter, to tag someone
in a meme;

let someone know you care.
linda m. crate

he forgot what a rainbow was
they say his eyes
were blue

i remember them being gray
as a moody october sky

saw one of his paintings
of me, my mother, and my gran

it was so very lifelike;
there was a storm in the horizon

you could tell by our stances
and the way the wind was blowing

our hair—
art has a way of communicating

what words sometimes fails to,
and i wonder if my uncle weren’t

only trying to convey the weather
but how he felt;

i will never get to ask him now
but i think he was suspended in a storm

for so long and fought so hard
that he forgot what a rainbow was.
linda m. crate

we don’t deserve to die
in his last letter to me
he encouraged me to always
follow my dreams,
and so here i am
hoping one day i can make him

also hoping that wherever he happens
to be hurts him less than this earth did—

in his letter you wouldn’t know
he was depressed,
you wouldn’t know that he was

i was fourteen when he died

but sometimes i still feel guilty
like maybe i should’ve wrote more letters
so he didn’t feel alone—

i wish the world could be kinder
to the people who need it the most,

we never know any person’s struggles;
so i’m begging you to be kind
because we all have demons and we all have flaws
we don’t deserve to die because of either.
linda m. crate

long before his time
my uncle is the reason i chase after my dreams
with such ferocity,
and he is the reason that i am still holding on

even in my darkest days;

because i thought about ending it all
several times when i was young
because i was always bullied and i felt like
i wasn’t deserving of life and like no one loved me—

so when you ask me why suicide prevention
i think about my uncle;

and all the years we lost
of all the things that maybe one day he could’ve
witnessed in our family

i think of all the pain he had to endure alone—

should you not understand my sorrow
be grateful that you do not have to know
how badly it hurts to lose someone you love long
before their time.
linda m. crate

remember that you are loved
he made such beautiful art,
but i wasn’t aware of his suffering;

they didn’t tell me until after
he died that he had depression—

i wrote him letters,
but now i wish i wrote more

as if somehow he could’ve felt
my love through all the letters

of my words;
but his last gift to me

was the book the last nutcracker
and it will forever be the book i treasure

most of all the books in my
collection and all of my favorites

because it reminds me of him—
i wish he could’ve remained,

but maybe he was needed to paint
the leaves and the sunsets and the moon;

and so i will say this if you are suffering
remember that you are loved.
linda m. crate


Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She’s also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020).

Fragile – Memoir and Poetry by Jude Brigley

To What We Lost – Jude Brigley

Jude Brigley writes a wonderful tribute to her mother about the hard days of losing her. What I truly appreciate in reading this kind of piece is the honoring of her own experience without sugar coating or stylizing, but allowing the beauty and sorrow piece itself together in its natural course.


My mother is talking to ghosts of her past. She says she has just heard the news that her uncle has died. She calls me to come quickly and I stumble from the couch in the next room, worried out of half-sleep, to find her stark upright in the reclining chair that she refuses to recline in. 

  ‘Uncle Arthur is dead,’ she says baldly, her eyes wide with shock and grief. I say nothing but nod in concern.  I am concerned, but not about Uncle Arthur. His dust has been scattered on winds for fifty years. 

  ‘Auntie Nell was here,’ she continues, distraught. ‘We need to let Christine and…..’ she pauses, ‘the other maid…’ She does not mean domestic servants. Being locked up with her, door barred to the virus, I know her mind. When she cannot think of a word, her brain darts around the blockage and finds another way.

  ‘Claire,’ I suggest.

 ‘Maid’ a quaint word for a young woman. Straight out of the Georgette Heyer or Jeffrey Farnol novels she loved as a girl.

  ‘Yes,’ she says with relief. ‘how can we let them know?’

  ‘Leave it to me,’ I say. She relies on me for practical tasks, so this soothes her mind.

  ‘And sadly, his sister has died on the same day. How can it be managed?’ This thought makes her distraught.

  ‘We will find a way.’ I say calmly. ‘Now, are you in pain?’

  ‘I am always in pain,’ she says snappily as if I should know better.

  ‘Shall I get you a tablet?’

  ‘What’s the use?’ she asserts. ‘You always want to give me a tablet.’

  ‘It’s to help the pain.’

She tuts. Tablet taking has become a chore. She no longer wants to take them and has been known to spit them out or to sit staring at her closed fist, only to open her hand in surprise and let a blue or a white tablet tumble into the folds of a blanket or roll into dark recesses under furniture.  I have been known to cajole, to plead, to hector over such moments, knowing that to suck a slow-release tablet is to overdose. To not know the dosage is to court spikes of pain. 

  ‘No need to be nasty,‘ she says 

  ‘I will have to tell the nurse you are not taking them.’ I tell her in exasperation.

  ‘Do you know me?’ she asks challengingly. 

I wonder if this is some kind of trick. ‘Of course,’ I say, ‘You are my lovely mother.’

She snorts at this. ‘Then you know that no nurse is going to tell me what to do,’ she says with a mental stamp of her foot. A literal one would be too painful.

 I laugh out loud and hug her. ‘You are my mother,’ I say in a kind of relief at her spirit.

 ‘I don’t know why you are laughing, she says, ‘I mean it.’ But I can’t help it. Her determination is so familiar. She has faced cancer three times with practical and stoical calm. But, her festering leg is becoming more than she can stand. She flicks the tablets on the night table away in a gesture of defiance and disdain. And perhaps, she needs to do this. This. These are her last acts of assertion. 

  ‘I think my mother should know about Arthur,’ she says.  ‘Is she upstairs?’

I pause. I do not want to lie to my mother, but I do not want to upset her either. It is as if the pain has made her retreat into a time in her life when she was happy and safe. 

   ‘It’s late.’ I say. ‘She is sleeping. We can tell her tomorrow.‘  Then, trying to be business-like, I add, ‘You need to settle down and go to sleep. It is three o clock.’

 ‘In the afternoon?’

 ‘No, in the night.’

 ‘Oh dammo, I am keeping you up again.’

 ‘No matter. But, you need to settle down.’

 ‘I need the commode. And I want a cup of tea,’

I know these are reasonable requests, but my heart sinks a little as I think of my pillow and blanket in the other room.   

      There was a time when my mother would not undress in front of us. Even on the beach. Everyone had to hold up towels for her to change into bathing suits. ‘Turn the other way,’ she used to admonish us. Now, like a child she raises her arms to be changed. She has no qualms about sitting on the commode. One day I go in and she is sitting naked having folded her nightdress in a neat square. These are signposts to her illness and her thresholds of pain, crossed many times into the recesses of her mind. 

  ‘You are not doing anything,’ I say as she just sits on the commode complaining of her leg’s agony. ‘You need to drink more.’ I offer her painkiller which this time she drinks greedily.

I feel her impatience at being told what to do. ‘I am staying here until I am finished.’

I leave her and make tea. Going back, she is half asleep. 

  ‘You need to get back to the chair,’ I say. ‘Are you ready?’

   ‘Are your sisters all dead?’ she asks me tentatively, as if not really wanting to know. I have no sisters, and my brother, although he visits every day, is not allowed in, as my mother is sheltered from the virus. 

       I realise that she thinks I am her mother. And why not? Everyone says I am like her in my appearance and my ways. ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘sadly, they are.’

She scrutinises my face. ‘No,’ she says. ‘That is not right. Why did I ask that? I am losing my mind. It is not fair to lose my mind. I would rather lose my leg.’

  ‘You are all right.’ I say. ‘You are safe.’

  ‘I am going over the surgery to speak to that doctor,’ she asserts. She has got up and is limping to the door. 

  ‘No, Mama.’ I bar the door. ‘It’s the middle of the night, and doctors won’t let you in anyway.’

  ‘I won’t forgive you for stopping me,’ she says angrily.

I gather myself into a tight ball of string. I am the elastic bands she weaves into round shapes in the long afternoons. ‘Yes, you will,’ I say, ‘yes you will.’

She sits as if defeated. I cannot take her suffering from her or shelter her from what she must go through. 

  ‘Let me help you to your chair,’ I say. She allows herself to be aided and as we go she says, ‘Thank you little girl. I don’t know your name but thank you.’

  ‘Where is my husband?’ she adds, ‘Why does he not come to see me?’ 

She has asked this before. The first time I told her he had died. She cries like it was fresh news. The second time, I say he is at work. That placates her. She asks my brother unexpectedly the same question, as he leaves the groceries at the door, and taken aback he tells her the truth. Later, my mother accuses me of lying to her. Now, I must play my hand with care. ‘He is over the library,’ I say.

  ‘Has my mother gone with him?’

  ‘Yes.’ I say hesitantly. I expect her to say that the library is shut but she seems comforted and ready to settle down. ‘It’s five o clock,’ I say. ‘We should be sleeping.’

I bend across her to pull the blanket up and she opens her eyes wide. They are very blue oceans. Then, she looks at me in delighted recognition. She kisses my cheek and says my name. 


In her last days, I would lift my mother’s head in my hands,
placing her cranium on the pillow, as painstakingly
as a priest or a sculptor, feeling her bones
rest in the feathers, like a small boulder,
as my hands slipped away, and her with no voice
to acknowledge my awkward progress .

I was the child who tripped over chalk lines,
dropped my coins in the grating, slopped
my tea cup on the Sunday-best cloth.

As the nurse stooped to bandage her legs,
raw and crusted as a war hero’s,
my mother’s eyes observed without reproach,
as I let the bowl’s soapy water lap
to the floor, staining the carpet.


Jude Brigley