Kelsey Bryan-Zwick-Poetry – Online Open Mic

For the Love of What is Holy

For some it will be an insect
A rare butterfly or moth
The way beetles burrow or have strong wings

For others a snail, a mollusk
An octopus, or squid
The mammoth, the whale
The extinction of the rhino

For some it will be the smile
On a particular child’s face
Or the way a love brushes hair back
From off your brow
The smell of grandmother’s cookies

For others it will be the first hand ever
Held open to them with no kickbacks
Expected, or their hard-working moms
Or a favorite pair of shoes ready to take them

For some it may be themselves
Their own breathing
The miracle of having a body
In which to experience life, this planet

For others it will be comic books
And french fries, and greasy stained thighs
Sharing a soda with two straws
Holding hands at the movies
Learning how to drive
Moving their tassels from one side
Of their graduation cap to the other

And still for some it will be respite
A break from all the dishes and mess
And endless to do lists, a good place to sit
And read a new book, or nap, or watch
Sparrows gather outside spring’s

For yet for others it will be nature itself
The tallness of trees, the rush of wind
Being caught in a wave, a swirl of salt water
Cloudy and forever mysterious
Sand between toes
Grass stains and sweat
From a long hike

For me it is you
And for the love of what is holy
All that is holy, I give thanks

Just this—

Cold nights where we nestle closer to one another
your kind being, breathing softly against my skin

And the way our kittens bird watch at the backdoor
their twin bodies, their heads atilt at a jaunty angle—


Playing every note at once
isn’t music

And is the same with cooking
all the ingredients at
your disposal
at once

As with love
and all the blood
in your heart

Remember, whenever you can
that it is your time
on this planet that every generation
must reuse

A hand-me-down
a gift
we are all belong to.

A Lullaby for my Love

Goodnight, goodnight
goodnight darling

Goodnight my sweet
I wish you the best
as your head
onto pillow rests
go forward
into your world of dreams

Hush now my darling
lay down your sorrows
pick up all your wishes for
your tomorrows

I want the best for you
top billing and
first page news

I want the poems you want
and room for a puppy
even if we still don’t get a puppy
I want you
to have what you need
I want you
to not have to work so hard
I want you
to have time for the cats
yeah and also to play with me

Basically, these days
I’d like us to win the lottery
and for everyone else to win it too
because as a proletariat
I know that what’s you’d want

We try so hard
and all we wanna do is give
you’ve got that artists spirit
and that’s what I fell in love with
if you were a song, I’d play these notes forever
but I’m glad you’re a person
cause I married you
cause I’m a smartass woman
and know who I like to share books with
and walk to the park and beach
and lay my little head next to
on an orthopedic pillow
and intertwin my dreams with
or worry into the night
if I’m being honest
for the sake of our artistic integrity
however avant-garde the day
I’m glad I’m sharing it with you

Round Things Make a Circle

An enso goes
around and around
so does an ouroboros
and a hurricane cloud
the earth and moon

It all comes back one day
it’s all both the smile
and the frown
both the egg before
it was broken
and the perfect yolk

A shell a stone, almost
and the center of a flower
both the smile
and the frown
the moon, the polka dot
on the suited clown

I wouldn’t say her butt
was round, but big bottomed
girls make the world go
make the world and the moon
and the sun, a sand dollar
some stones and a shell
the center of a flower

your bellybutton
the iris in your eye
the center of a flower


A Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a Spanish/English speaking poet from Long Beach, California.  Disabled with scoliosis from a young age, her poems often focus on trauma, giving heart to the antiseptic language of hospital intake forms.  Author of Watermarked (Sadie Girl Press) and founder of the micro-press BindYourOwnBooks, Kelsey’s poems appear in petrichor, Cholla Needles, Rise Up Review, Right Hand Pointing, Redshift, and Making Up, a Picture Show Press anthology.  Writing towards her new title, Here Go the Knives,

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Instagram @theexquisitepoet

Diego Marquina – Online Open Mic


Diego Marquina: To me drawing, painting, taking pictures  and writing is the perfect scape to a calm place in my mind were I can take distance and have some fun. I started drawing as a therapy, working on my mental health is primal to me, and should be for everybody. One day I published one of my drawings, and I started to get feedback that surprised me.

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Adrian Slonaker – Online Open Mic

Encounter in Whitehorse

Under clodlike clouds too thick
for the aurora borealis to penetrate, the
Yukon River crackled a greeting beneath its
icy shell while log-cabin skyscrapers and
silvery evergreens slept or possibly
played possum.
The coyote, whose furry
ears rose at the terminus of a frosty road,
filled the night with its answer:
Not a baleful howl or a gritty
growl, just the
nip-nip-nip of playfulness and pep,
the tiny grin in its voice mirrored
by the one on my face.

God, I Hate Cleaning the Bathroom

My head heavy from the Scrubbing Bubbles that
promise to save me precious labor as
I say goodbye to the grime and grout
on the unintentionally toffee-colored tiles, I
sigh and sit on the hot pink toilet seat cover
that looks envious of its big sibling, the fuzzy rug draped
over the bathtub.
Both were bequeathed by Nana, who’d
expired in September after Aunt Nancy’d
urged the nurse to pump up the morphine
to mollify the pain once
the cancer had colonized the bones.
A draft of fifty-one-degrees-Fahrenheit/eleven-degrees-Centigrade
traces my face as I watch ants hobnob around an errant splash of
Kool-Aid on the gravel outside the open window that offers a view onto half a
faded ‘Free Puppies’ sign flapping against a leafless oak tree.
It must have been forgotten since the malamutes and their
masters had decamped in a moving van on the morning of
that election day when everyone was so angry.
Teasing me from under the closed closet door is the
border of the bathroom scale I banished after devouring the
entire rhubarb crisp Cheryl had smilingly foisted on me
despite my best efforts to
follow Beyoncé’s Master Cleanse because boys worry
about willpower and weight too.


On Friday afternoon he’d lunched solo, as usual, on the Cracker Barrel
fish fry special during which he’d daydreamed he
was Dina, the eldest daughter of a doting
Neapolitan-American Catholic couple in 1959
instead of a twenty-first-century-middle-aged Methodist
of English and Scottish and Swedish descent
– according to a hundred-dollar DNA test –
flung aside as a flake by his family
and whose nagging gender dysphoria drove him
to shame his balding pate with mail-order berets.
Popping into the gift shop, he strained to make
his two-hundred-seventy-two-pound frame in a paisley t-shirt
as petit as possible as if to apologize for
his plump presence and not bump into the crush of impulse buyers
and salespeople or destroy displays of candles and candies and cards
and owls and samplers that screamed “Relax and Accept the Crazy”
as he bitch-slapped his panic and fed his basket before it puked
Dubble Bubble and diet orange ‘n cream soda at the cashier,
a cinnamon-scented sixtiesh lady with a Nancy Reagan hairdo who
didn’t question the tiny tube of champagne lip shimmer before
fondling the fractured tutti-frutti candy stick and cooing,
“Oh it’s broken. Are you sure you don’t want a different one?”
Insulted by the suggestion to refuse such a flamboyantly sweet,
yet shattered specimen, he expelled a plaintive “No!”
like Betty from Father Knows Best before
inhaling the yellow and red and green and white shards
while waiting for the bus.


Adrian Slonaker crisscrosses North America as a language boffin and is fond of opals, owls, fire noodles and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Adrian’s work, which has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net, has been published in WINK: Writers in the Know, Ez.P.Zine, The Pangolin Review and others. 

Ivan Peledov – Online Open Mic


It is easy to wear a mask made of the vomit of the sun 

walking the streets of a timid town in search of

the perfect background for every sacred word 

cumbersome in the eye of a bird or a beast.

Canine laughter might be served as a breakfast 

for nauseous music you are too afraid to hear.

Slumber Bigger Than Life

36 days ago I couldn’t 

touch the claws of the clouds

and the scratches made by flowers

on somnolent walls. Consider the reptiles:

Under the snow they smell, smile, simulate

happiness of the eyeless sky.

Imaginary Crumbs

Shadows and mice invade the parks

and the mirrors of the towns cursed by the roar 

of butterflies between the seasons.

Hibernating leaves are ashamed of revealing the future.

A story of blabbering flowerless vases

has been buried in oblivious ice.

I am serious as a vacuum cleaner:

Words are the duds of mute angels

that loathe doing the laundry.


Ivan Peledov lives in Colorado. He loves to travel and to forget the places he has visited. He has been recently published in Goat’s Milk Magazine, The Collidescope, iō Literary Journal, and Wend Poetry.

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Richard Grahn-Poetry – Online Open Mic


Once again, 3:00 AM. This computer’s clock has ticked away another two hours of irreplaceable sleep time. My bladder woke me and my treacherous brain denied me a return to slumber. After checking my empty inbox a dozen times and browsing through an idle Facebook feed until ennui set in, I find myself herding words.

morning routine
I sweep cobwebs
from the ceiling

The doctor tells me sleep is essential for my mental and physical health. Convey that message to my neurons, please. A thousand sheep and still counting. I have enough wool for a wardrobe of sweaters and mittens. So I write about sweaters and mittens.

I have this nagging thought of my cat and my ex who has the cat. I hope they’re happy together but I’d sacrifice a lamb to be reunited with them now. He’s a long-haired kitty and she has curls. My hair is falling out so I shave my head regularly. Oh, what I’d give to run my fingers through hair again. 4:47 AM.

5:32 AM. The A key keeps sticking…aaaaaaaa. Must be trying to tell me something, some great revelation yet to emerge on the page. Perhaps there’s even a shilling in it for me. Then I can buy a decent pillow.

6: 15 AM. Now, it’s come to me. I’m thinking of starting a rebellion. The world is due for a great upheaval. Not one where governments fall or industry is brought to its knees. Sheep keep me awake. I’m thinking we should deport them all to the steppes of Spain or the pastures in the south of France. Let the shepherds count them. They have dogs to help keep track. Yes, a revolution is in order. This is a cause that will put you to sleep. All that baaing has cats and girlfriends swirling through my brain.

If your head is a stockyard like mine, join me in this revolt to silence the lambs. Take a break from your insomnia. Become asleep. Don’t give in to the faces from the past. Armies march on their stomachs. We can march on mutton.

I readjust
my dreamcatcher


The knowledge of good and evil is no help where losing you is concerned. We said our vows and then split like overripe fruit. I remember our conversations, the first one and the last. Words brought us together, but they also tore us apart.

fallen leaves

on the garden path—

a puff of wind

I have dreams where I get lost in familiar places. The landscape turns apocalyptic and all I want is to find my way back to you. I wake up with a knot in my stomach and a scream choked in my throat. I tell myself it’s just a dream but it still takes a few minutes to flush it from my imagination.

no splash today a frozen pond

Can’t Take it Home

The trail from my favorite meadow meanders through the wood. I’m carrying a basket with a surprise in it for Grandma.
A gray-haired hiker approaches from the other direction, stopping in front of me, “Hi there. What’s in the basket?”

“Wildflowers for my grandmother.”

He steps closer, “Can I see?”

“Sure.” I open the basket and tip it towards him.

He leans in. “That’s a lot of flowers.” His dark-brown eyes widen as he reaches into the basket and pulls out a violet. “You must be her favorite grandson.”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

For a moment our eyes lock, and I watch as his face mutates into a grimace, gnarled teeth clenched. With the quickness of a cat, he drops the flower and seizes my arm. The basket falls as we wrestle to the ground; his mustached mouth against my lips oozes spit. He licks my face with his long, slimy tongue as he rips at my pants. The man-turned-monster grinds me into the earth, then rolls me over, and enters. My mind goes silent.

“Thank you for such a pleasant gift,” she says. “What have you been up to? Your clothes are a fright.”

“Just playing in the meadow, picking flowers.”

“Well, those flowers must have fought back. Come, let me straighten you up and we’ll have some cookies.”

I force a smile and nod halfheartedly. “Okay.”

boy in a mask—
not enough space
for a scream


Richard Grahn from Evanston, Illinois:  
The Universe is a medium. I draw inspiration from the void and from the all. Now is my timezone. I am blessed to be able to practice my passions, photography, sculpture, painting, music, and writing, full time. I have worked with aluminum, bronze, stone, wood, Styrofoam, glass, plaster, grass, and a variety of sculpture and mold making products. Some projects took over 18 years to complete, others were finished in an afternoon. Except for the photography (and sometimes with photography), my work is abstract, drawing from both the natural and the man-made world. I believe that one facet of art is its ability to take the viewer on a trip through their own imagination. Without the viewer, we would be out of work, or is it play?

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Published Book:
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Guna Moran/Translated by Bibekananda Choudhury- Online Open Mic

The source of initial creation of the primitive poet

Had been sorrow

I too had not written any in glee

It is unnecessary to explain

Whether a poem

Is a company in sorrow or joy

But the number of people

Writing poems


That the number of sorrowful person increases

Sorrow is no ones favorite

But happiness is meaningless

If one do not understand sorrow


 transforming into a symbol of sorrow


Search for bliss for you all

If bliss is your sole favorite

Don’t ever let me be happy

Because to be happy

Someone needs to be unhappy


Poet: Guna Moran

Guna Moran is an assamese poet and critic. He lives in Assam,India. His poems are being published in various international magazines,journals,webzines and anthologies.

Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

San Lin Tun-Artwork – Online Open Mic


Artist Statement

It is the exploration towards inner self which takes different shapes and forms in respective mental states. The works express some kinds of mental states and conditions one has and try to bring some meanings to them.







San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short story and novel in Myanmar and English. His works appeared in Asia Literary Review, Kitaab, Mad in Asia Pacific, NAW, PIX, South East of Now, and others. He holds an M.A in BDh, B.E (Metallurgy), AmPox3. He lives in Yangon, Myanmar.

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