A Dash of Whimsy

When life gives you chaos

Don’t let it sit too long

Or else it gets sour.

Whisk in some self care.

Add a couple dollops of love for others.

Mix until it forms a soft dough.

With strength and precision, roll out the dough into an even layer.

Now sprinkle with hope.

Spice it up with some courage.

Then, roll the dough lengthwise to form a happy log.

Slice the log into even rolls.

Arrange the rolls in your pan to your liking.

And now for the secret ingredient,

That is often overlooked.

You could bake without it,

But it wouldn’t have the pizzazz that most palates are looking for.

So, before you finish your creation,

Don’t forget to add (Not too much!)

Just a dash

Of whimsy.

⁃ Mia Savant

Welcome to April Ponderbots!

The world is pretty crazy right now, and we’ve got to keep our focus in how to get through these times.

Last month we had the inspired artwork from the Online Open Mic and I want to thank each and every artist that participated. So much love and skill went into each piece, and you gave us a treasure by sharing it with us.

This month I want to be especially mindful about keeping our spirits up! While we are getting through this hurdle together as the human race, we’ve got to keep each other smiling in whatever ways we can. Join me in laughter and giggles as we view the upcoming artwork in this new series, A Dash of Whimsy!

Online, the applause is your likes, comments and shares. So, when an artists work makes you smile, be sure to “clap” in support of them!

Mia Savant

Carl Scharwath & Shanti Harjani Williams – Online Open Mic

The Girl With The Brick Heart

The bee buzzing of
A well-lit life
A flagrant smile
Harnesses the light
The fluorescent hanging lamp obviates the need
To see
As it glowers back at me
The hallucinogenic halogen bulb wires my mind
To feel
A fake incandescent soul
Made of bricks and hard lumps
Walking the surface easily
A hand stretch leads the way to the inside
The soul is damp to the touch
But brick by brick
The heart was built.


Photography by: Carl Scharwath

Carl Scharwath, has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography (His photography was featured on the cover of 6 literary journals.) Two poetry books ‘Journey To Become Forgotten’ (Kind of a Hurricane Press).and ‘Abandoned’ (ScarsTv) have been published. His first photography book was recently published by Praxis. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a competitive runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo. 

Poetry by: Shanti Harjani Williams

A lawyer by training, my full time job is being Mummy to my three amazing kids Ryan 17, Abby 14 and Shane 9. While home alone in the days, I would find the urge to write and began posting faith testimonies on Facebook on my personal page. This led to my prose writing also surrounding my Christian faith. Now I write in prose and poetry daily on my page as well as on other poetry sites. The areas I write on are faith, self awareness and growth, romance and world issues. I live and breathe my poetry and most of my work reflects my own daily experiences and life generally. I have been posting my poetry on my Facebook page for about 4 years.

Linda M. Crate – Online Open Mic

your black magic

you get crowned a good man
again and again by people i love,
but they don’t know you
like i do;
how you refused to take no
for an answer and tried to force
yourself upon me—
how when you broke up with
me i felt joy not pain,
as the tears fell from my cheeks;
they don’t know how you found me
years later at college
and smirked at me with an evil grin,
“i bet you don’t remember me”
knowing full well i would—
they don’t know the trauma you put
me through or all the things i had to work through
simply so i could function as a human being,
yet somehow i’m the villain when i scoff
that you’re a good man;
somehow i’m the witch that they must burn—
i guess your black magic is a good disguise
because they believe you’re a miracle
not a curse.
-linda m. crate

predators will be predators

i haven’t seen you in years,
and i hope i never
have to;

i don’t know what i’d do if i were
forced to stand in the same room
as you—

but any time someone tells me
i have a pretty smile it falls off my face
because i think of how you said it

just before you tried to force me to
“do it” with you,
and i know there are some that would

insist that kids would be kids;
but what about that rainy night at college
when you taunted me—

it’s not kids will be kids,
but predators will be predators;
sometimes they take the shape of children

just a hair older than you—
but i was afraid no one would believe me
if i told, and judging by the reactions

that i receive when i say you’re not a good man
i was right to believe that no one would
believe you were anything less than innocent.
-linda m. crate

i do remember you

i remember
what i was wearing that night,
and the rain lashing the window;
the evil look in your dark eyes—

i remember how i said no,
but it didn’t matter
you weren’t listening to what
i had to say;
as if i were speaking another language
entirely but i kept pleading

only for you to insist
that we were
going to “do it”—

i remember that adrenaline rush
wish saved me from your will,

and tumbling down the stairs to escape you;
your sister thought i heard my mother’s car
but quite honestly i was just running from you
regardless of whether my mother was there or not—

i remember when i got into my mother’s car
that i just wanted her to mash the gas
like a get-away vehicle;

so, unfortunately, yes, i do remember you.
-linda m. crate

people betray me

told my
childhood best friend
what you did,

and years later she still
friended you on facebook;

people always tell me
that you’re a good man and i hate
hearing that when i know
the truth—

i never am brave enough to speak up,
but the one time i made a derisive snort
i was scolded for it;

guess you have the whole world fooled
but not me—

i recognize you for the monster you are,
but people betray me when they insist you’re
a different person than what i know and remember
from all the scenes that still play in my head
all these years later.
-linda m. crate

i won’t decay for you

you are the damned spot
i cannot wash
from my skin,
but i won’t be your victim;
i will have
my life is my own,
and i refuse to live my life in fear
because of you;
i’m taking my journey back—
the trauma sometimes still makes me
like the little girl i once was,
but i refuse to let it destroy me;
i am the phoenix
whose immortal flame will always rise
from the ashes
to defeat the nightmares like you—
i refuse to be a haunted house brought down
by inner decay,
i am going to be the wreckage cleared out
by divers;
i am going to reconstruct myself from the
bruises and you will recognize me for my light
when she puts your nightmares to rest.
-linda m. crate


Linda M. Crate

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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

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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Elaine T. Nguyen – Online Open Mic

Let’s Fall In Love

let’s fall in love after all we need is someone to forget about
do you ever miss me? picking xmas trees
talking shit kissin my lips
what do you want to cook for dinner tonight?
textin me who’s room yours or mine?

shall we go back in time
2019 I’ve got shelves now and a little less trust to g
flash fwd 5 years from now meet me
don’t know how before midnight starts or ends
but it seems like I’ll regret this long after I have

meet me at The Convent
I’ll be coming from the desert it’ll be spring
weather we’ll start here or over
let’s just skip hearts breaking under still water
bet we’ll still look good standing next to each other
you’ll wear less black and I’ll wear less blue
meet me on the roof
where I fell in love with you

Don’t Miss It
Let Me Tell U
Hyena Lover


Elaine T. Nguyen is a multi-disciplinary artist living in the SF Bay Area. She is a curator, activist and community builder, currently working on creating a POC figure drawing session while also working with Asian Creatives Network to further the arts within Asian communities. Her work displays an intimate perspective on relationships, mental illness, and identity.


CONFESS is a body of work that touches on an intimate re-evaluation of loving through bipolar depression, addressing both the mania and the aftermath. Fragmented and written while manic, these poems were scribbled in chaos as my hand tried to make sense of my mind.

A collection based around vulnerability and forced exposure, these text-based works are raw thoughts turned visual, the medium I understand the most. By allowing these poems to choose their medium, the pieces appear as performances, paintings, videos, and sculptures. They exist as abstracted works waiting for the patient or intentional viewer to consume. 

These works speak to the tragic pleasure I have found in falling apart and the confusion that comes with trying to piece reality back together. A journey full of love, regret, shame, and guilt, I am lost in my own mind, I am consumed by emotional falsities and I am filled with a lack of desire to confront reality. In the end, I must confess, I don’t know if it ever meant so much or if it just meant so much to me.

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