Two Poems by Angela Porter

Hidden Music

At etching speed of light, at writing desk
He’ll be; imprinting hieroglyphics,
A future pathway, when he completes a task,
That notes should sit so perfectly still.

In sounds so smooth, it re-defines smoothness.
On silk, and hand-made paper, as sand slides
On stage, flows from process, and through process.
And later orchestrated, sung; performed.

Imagine sweet rain; I was lifted, light
In raindrop cells. The delicate,
Is as a rose, asks the dew and daylight.
I picture him sketching freedom out.

A Chance Meeting

We spoke, we had met unexpectedly.
Her magnet strong mind, her body re-routes.
At tender words she clutched, and hastily
Was swift, before her heart was caught like loot,
And so she went, straight backed upon her scooter.
We once shared drinks, even had time to talk?
Her tall strides, with dogs, should be seen to walk.


Angela is a long time contributor to “Reach Poetry”. In 2007 she shared the winning prize in their poetry booklet competition, “Embroidering the Deep” is self published through them.

One Poem by Dennis DuBois

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Nameless Guide

We must have been poorly advised, misheard
               the directions, which has led us here,
to this frightfully beautiful, winter wonderland.
A mistake that could be the cause of our deaths.
               Our outlook changed
to become less joyful, less holiday-spirited,
                              and further in—
               it turned again to become grim
                              and darker still.

We are exposed on this windswept mountainside.
               The landscape barren, skeletal,
prepped to take on the onslaught of winter.
                              We are not.
               The path obscures in the snow.
We are fools, dressed improperly for this arduous journey.
               Argon has no gloves, his arms are bare.
                              I am Ingrid. I wear
a newly made satin skirt with circles representing
               the phases of the moon.
We started out singing carols, but cold silence
               slipped between, lips chapped, throats
                              clamped shut with fear.
               We are lost, wandering aimlessly,
                              misstepping our way to oblivion,
circling back to find our own faint footprints in the snow.

It was only then, through my despairing mind, did I spot
               through the mist of low hanging clouds,
                              a cabin, dimly lit, a distance away,
smoke billowed from the chimney with candlelight
               flickering in the windows, a wreath on the door,
and as we approached, the recognizable voices of those
               near and dear could be heard,
                              fully engaged in the festivities.

Now smiling we pounded on the door to be welcomed
               in with gusto, to raise our glasses
and foretell of our triumphant journey, to defeat the demons;
                              death and doubt.
Argon suggested it was a blessing to be lost, but a greater blessing
               to be found. I chided him that I knew all along,
                              guided by the vapor of a whispered voice.


Dennis has been darkening pages, scribbling, jotting down, and editing poems since he was a wee child. Poetry has been a friend, a guide, and someone to talk when nobody else was around. His fingers may have stiffened over his guitar strings, but they hold a writing instrument just fine.

One Poem by Anna Schoenbach

We Grow it in a Garden of Our Own Desires

 Our minds blossom
over time, like flowers
in spring. Our goals are thus –
to survive, to live at our best, at our
fullest. To achieve our     goals, we plant
the seed, in fertile soil,     our most fertile loam.
We grow the seed of destiny      in a garden of our own desires.
Wants, needs are roots reaching      for the purest water, the richest
nutrients, the most decayed      rotting bones of our old, dead
dreams. Our leaves reach      for the clouds, the sun, the un-
attainable light. We reach,     we eat, and we grow
strong. Our goals sprout      from fertile soil,
unfurling little seed-     -leaves, struggles
through the trials of life, feeds
from our own desires.
And grows strong.


Previously published in the poem anthology “Primal Elements,” by OWS Ink, Anna Schoenbach is a writer, editor, and poet who hopes that she can capture even just a little bit of the awesome power of the natural (and spiritual) world in her writing.

One Poem by William Ruleman

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

On an Illustration by Warwick Goble

from The Fairy Book (1913)

How pitiful, those two gnarled pines
Behind them on that barren knoll:
As lonely as those lovers look!

Aslog, loath to marry money,
Pined for Orm, poor but pure;
And so she fled her father’s fetters,
Finding soon that following Feeling—
Listening to the Lord of Love—
Can send one, shivering, through the snow
And steer one toward the strangest lands.

Still, so’s not to spoil their story,
I will leave these lovers standing
Stark as artist Warwick wrought them,
Frail yet firm with deep devotion
In a weird and wintry world.


A retired English professor, William Ruleman devotes his days to writing and painting. His most recent books include the poetry collections From Rage to Hope (White Violet Books, 2016), Munich Poems (Cedar Springs Books, 2017), and Stefan Zweig’s unfinished novel Clarissa (Ariadne Press, also 2017). His website is

Two Poems by David Bankson

Into the Sea

there was a time when I couldn't breathe

they started sending film crew when things got too fake.
they took their spotlights there.
the worm began to tunnel,
                                  where waves lap
                                  forgotten memories
                                  are flame dresses
                                  visions of scalps, blood
                                  reverse revelation --
too large for the room,
listening for ships passing in the night
to horns that sound like the fish I've seen.

"I hear drowning to death is preferable."

the ladles of logic are slipping
the house paint on the plank siding
is in curls --

I'm not a demon, but am I worth it?
power lines whipping in the dusk,
feeling that flames.

the following evening after it sank
I say: "The fish always know first."

                                  but the fish have died since then.

On Struggling for Originality

The rafters. The rain. The peonies.
The diaspora in the golden spring.
For now, every planet sounds like uncertainty,

every rotting log an incubator
unmade in the evening drought.
To ignore is to absolve;

to neglect is to destroy patterns in the soil,
brown that dissuades from creation.
Even the closest point cannot be reached.

There is no freedom in the weight we shoulder
or the sympathy we reject —
what we see as brightness

is darkness that has been eclipsed.
There is a volume at which anything louder
starts making sense, a connection

now audible to our exposed ears.
To the peony, sudden sun is a moment,
but the sunbeam needs no time

beyond the present. Where we came from
is no longer us. Imagine this as a river.
As a forest. Composure means nothing

and space is farther than it appears.
Soon the whisper. Soon the river. Soon
the emergence of all we grip tight.


David Bankson lives in Texas. He was finalist in the 2017 Concīs Pith of Prose and Poem contest, and his poetry and microfiction can be found in concis, Anti-heroin Chic, {isacoustic*}, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Five 2 One Magazine, and others.

One Poem by Alun Robert

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Without A Paddle

Next time I’ll make the booking
Should we make it home alive.

I know I agreed we’d vacation in Transylvania
High in the mountains
Just you and me
But you did Cook our goose
Sort of
When you said March
I thought you meant walk
Over pastures, through woodland.

Not March as in winter
It’s freezing up here
And when you said Fun
I wore my woodsman’s cloak and hat
Acquired on the net from a party plan store
That also sold me slippers
Genuine polyester
Genuine water permeable.

Yet you’re toasty in layers
And your long frock (double insulated)
You even got me carrying
Your surplus apparel and coat
So where is the telecabin
We’ve been waiting for ages
Don’t have downhill skis
Nor the inclination to walk.

Look, we could have done Benidorm
Would have been warmer
Not so much snow
No need for special clobber
Or how about Bognor
Or even the Downs of Ditchling
Could have spent hours in the Museum
Deep in Arts and Crafts collections.

So March wasn’t a good idea
Up here in Transylvania
Can’t get a signal
My i-phone won’t work
So we’re up the Craik without a paddle
A bear could Goble us up
I know the vacation was at a discount
Not a Fairy tale booking.

Should we make it home alive
Next time I’ll make the booking.


Alun Robert is a prolific creator of lyrical verse. This year, he has achieved success in poetry competitions and featured in international literary magazines, anthologies and on the web. He particularly enjoys ekphrastic challenges.

One Poem by Suchoon Mo

Autumn Sky

autumn sky
two leaves fall

the winter will come

you and I
we never danced


Suchoon Mo lives in the semiarid part of Colorado. His recent poems appeared in Aji Magazine, World Literature, Scarlet Leaf Review, Armarolla, Optimum Poetry.

One Poem by James Bell

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

once upon a time

it’s audacious though in slow steps now

fast flight in snow still near the beginning
                                         of the story 
it's the way it goes
with solid trust in the miraculous

being frozen outside overnight still to happen
or can it will it happen
                                            in fairy tales
has to
             it's the way it goes
into the house of some old crone
                                                    who is a witch
or some sad old monster
                                                    in a cold cave

of course it’s all allegorical
                   borders on the formulaic
which it is
                      how people want it told
over and over and over again

at least they are together
              must be princess and prince
                           it’s not the way you dress in the winter
                                         court slippers and fine clothes

a lot more is sure to happen
                                 teller and audience know it
will end happily ever after
                                 it's the way it goes on dark winter nights
that never seem to end
                                              thus the story is told over and over and over again

Continue reading “One Poem by James Bell”

Two Poems by Marissa Glover


Have you ever just hurt and hurt and hurt and
hurt until you were tired of hurting
so tired you would give anything to stop hurting
give anything to sleep through the night

give your money to anyone with steady hands
give your clothes to women who go to work
give your amethyst to Isabelle with the pretty name
pendants are for girls who have use for pretty
pretty is a memory too heavy to lift

give your pens to someone with words to write
whose thoughts aren’t mosquitoes zapped by machines
give your kaleidoscope collection to anyone
who can look at the light without shrieking

give the heirloom clock in the hall to Dan
who likes watches and is hard of hearing
it ticks too loud, a tell-tale heart you can hear
from anywhere in the house as you’re waiting
for the sky to signal it’s bedtime

waiting for the bed to get comfortable
waiting for something resembling sleep
that’s all you need—you just know it
more than doctors who don’t know anything

you only need to rest and you’d give anything—
everything—                 to fall asleep and wake up well


In my hand is a chicken bone my mama calls a wishbone.
She says if two people each take a different side
and pull until the bones break—
the person with the bigger splinter makes a wish.

Right now, the horseshoe-shaped stem is whole as my hand
cups its sides of equal length—two bones that by chance
or design have merged into one like the apex
of Florida and Nebraska Avenues, now Highway 41.

I wonder if wishes really come from the dried bones.
I wonder who I can pick a bone with.


Marissa Glover teaches and writes in Florida. Her poetry is found in UK journals such as AmaryllisPicaroonPoetry24Bonnie’s Crew, Solstice Sounds, and Ink, Sweat & Tears—and is forthcoming at Three Drops from a Cauldron and Riggwelter. Follow her on Twitter @_MarissaGlover_.

One Poem by Viv Parks

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Old Leather Book 

Snowdrop is her name.
A fairy,  but friendly just the same.
Sadly trapped and bound
within the confines
of that old leather book.

Been there since nineteen thirteen!

She longs to break free.
Leave those musty bindings behind.
Leap from within her yellowed page,
be free to spread her delicate wings.
Fly with the breeze.

Longs to spin, turn, dance and sing.

Freedom is such a wonderful thing.
She’ll sprinkle her magic fairy dust,
send it whirling in the breeze.
Then rest upon her namesake
as they nod gently under the trees.

So glad to have had some freedom.

Before returning once again
to that old leather book.
Happy to watch the children’s smiling faces
as their mother turns those pages.
Listen as they laugh when their mother asks

“Do you believe In fairies?”


Viv Parks is an avid writer of poetry. She loves responding to challenges. In her retirement she now lives by the coast in Southern England and finds much inspiration from the panoramic views of the South Downs.