homunulus poetic cycle alisa velaj

Poetic Cycle by Alisa Velaj


[for lack of the word…; time: midnight]

You have always disturbed my nights, Homunculus,
and I am making no mention of days here,
for you’ll never have the slightest idea what they are.
Both are one and the same to you,
as alike as, say, the sun and the moon…

You thus deeply aggrieved me, Homunculus,
when I spotted that laboratorial halo
in your frail being.

I was a wretch at the time, young man;
too diffident to sniff the scent of my victory.
Nay, I even thought I had lost…

At times, your halo pushed me into doubts
whether I should acknowledge it as such or not.
Anyway, what good are my doubts? What matters now
is but the fact that you are a made-up creature,
threatening to pass your contrivance onto other embryos
ever conceived in fertile, healthy wombs.

This is what scares me, Homun.
This is what I am scared of…

Scent of Linden Blossom

After such a long time,
scent of linden trees on the streets.
Scent of linden!
On occasion, greenery blasts in blossom
                                   when least expected.

I hurry to finish my errands before sunset,
for, afterwards, bats give me the creeps,
running against walls and getting nowhere!

It’s horrible to be robbed of your eyesight, my friend.



“Why are you insisting to interrupt me, Homun?
If the scent of linden offends your nose so badly,
farther down, on the right of fall, there are some crags.
There you can sit and wait for your buddies, the bats…”


A lab is a woman, but not a mother, Homun.
In there, songs hit the glass panes like meaningless sounds
and the cuckoo’s call may reach you like a refrain of sirens.

A lab is merely a woman, my dear.
The gestation within a shell’s womb
swells up in skeletal dimensions.

A mother it will never ever become,
as long as its wills be entrusted to the memory of leaves
and infinite blueness be not accepted as the ultimate limit…

A Memory from Two Oak Trees

(instead of a good-morning greeting)

On the trunks of two oak trees up on the mountain,
I and you, Homun, used to carve our names.

You wouldn’t stop laughing at Faust,
while he toiled to engrave our names on stone:
“Go, master Sisyphus, go!” you would cheer.

Today, I am taking a walk on these parts.
Alas, our oaks must have been cut down long ago.
Legible is but a FA in the quarry of sounds…

It Was Your Ultimate Role, Homunculus!

Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Through breezy fingers
over two guitar strings.

The orchestra begins to heat up
for no good reason…

I don’t dance that dance, Homunculus.
Age-wise, I am a perennial leaf,
and my every effort to arrest the air
is rewarded with phantom flights.

Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Incense of fire
Through breezy fingers
over four guitar strings.

Neither should you dance that dance, Homunculus,
a creature contrived as you are, nought born.
One must love way too much to not perish altogether.

Dancers of your like got scythed by a gust of wind
while, in extasy, they were busy cutting hyacinths.
You are the last one of that dynasty, Homunculus!

Incense of smoke
Incense of smoke
Incense of smoke
The guitar vanished in thin air.

Ah, my son, why wouldn’t you for once listen to me?!
That was your ultimate role toward perfection,
that was your single role…

Requiem to the Exile-Bound Light

(time: 6.59 AM)

Thirst is drying even the shores to the last drop!
Weak of vibe and wing,
the seagull is lost in doomsday thoughts
of her homelands soon to remain but memories.
Vengeful pangs, of a darker purple than sunsets,
command her to silence, prayer, and back to silence.

translated from Albanian by ARBEN P. LATIFI

Featured image by Kyle Glenn

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than eighty print and online international magazines, including: Michigan’s Best Emerging Poets (USA), San Diego Poetry Annual (USA), FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK) The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK) etc etc. Her poems are also translated and published in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French, Bengali and Portuguese. Velaj’s digital chapbook The Wind Foundations, translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published by Zany Zygote Review (USA). Alisa Velaj’s poetry book With No Sweat At All will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

heat lightning martin adams

Bloody Love Letter by Darrell Epp

my poor wife! all i ask of her is telepathy,
maybe some antlers, the ability to eat
glacier and spit out flame. lawyers on
radios say this happens all the time.
still i’m queasy about turning our
backs on the view off catalina. or
even a grub eating a leaf, nazareth
miracles on stained glass windows.
don’t tell the starving children
about the buffet left untouched,
the five-star gourmet dumpster.
skies as plush as a child’s toys,
mountainous clouds tumbling
down barton, farther down a
rust-coloured stain, relentless
as gangrene, and aldermen
building castles out of sand.
the sign says yield but i’m
too stubborn. in a frenzy
like before the evacuation
we take heat lightning
as a sign of the divine.
angels or mirages, go
ahead: surprise me.



Darrell Epp is a poet living in Ontario, Canada. His poetry has appeared in over 120 magazines on 6 continents. His third collection, Sinners Dance, was published by Mosaic Press in April. Read an interview with Darrell Epp.


Featured image by Martin Adams

Photo by Oliver Cole

Midnight in New York by Matt Duggan

I’m not wiping sweat from my forehead
but cobwebs from the metal ferns;
I appear to be drunk on 23rd street
having forgot the name of my hotel again;
I see the scaffolds around famous Chelsea
her velvet claws sticking out
like the hotels sharpened teeth dripping blood
onto fire hydrants and the busy streets below;

I talk with bar-men who speak with two accents
yellow cabs pierce tall smoky traffic queues
I hear a city that never sleeps whisper to me
down blocks of red brick and repetition of basket-ball parks
where the smell of Cinnamon from a Deli drifts
next to an Irish pub cooking fresh chowder—
breathe in the smell and break the chains of morning;
I hear a city that never sleeps whisper to me, it’s time for bed.

Photo by Oliver Cole

Photo by Oliver Cole

Matt Duggan’s poems have appeared in The Journal, Into the Void, Lakeview International Literary Journal, Osiris Poetry Journal. Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry in 2015 with his first full collection Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press) and the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2016. He has a new chapbook out called A Season in Another World (Thirty West Publishing House) and has just returned from a reading tour along the East Coast of the U.S., including Philadelphia, Boston and New York, where he wrote this poem. 

Follow Matt Duggan on Twitter.

The Unending Stasis of Amnesia by Peter V Dugan

new nation

Art: Chuck Giezentanner



1) Breaking News

Like a programmed automaton

              he lurks on the sidelines

just another face

              hidden in the crowd.


He waits with the patience

              of a lioness, selects his prey

                          with calculating craft.


Polished gray gun-metal gleams

              under the streetlight.


Brass shell casings hit the pavement,

              tinkle like bells

                          sound a death knell

as youth and potential

                                          are lost

shooting stars that lit the sky


no chance

              to fulfill their dreams.


The shooter leaves his mark

            a massive body count,

                          numbers remain unfinished.


Maybe tomorrow they’ll know more.


2) Repetition of Ritual

Mourners howl and say Kaddish

              members of a lost tribe

emerge from the shadows

              gather to raise voices

in contempt at being condemned

              by unintended consequences

as fingers reach to the sky

              stretch for more sun

                          and pray.


Imagination runs with consciousness,

              recedes in a magical retreat,

spins a yarn of facts


like a coital knot of snakes



                          and contorted.


The string of lies tangled

              with knots of truth

to form an obvious enigmatic solution,


on a one-way street intersecting



3) Return to Scheduled Program

Footprints and echoes,

              giant imprints of the past

form a foundation that’s fragile

              and struggles to defeat

                          the odds.


Sweet sounds of life fill the air

              sheep bleat,


to feed on tufts of grass.

Deluge by Peter V Dugan

Photo by : Adam Porter


Doing pirouettes on the edge of the abyss, reciting

poems of buckshot spewed words, shedding bitter

tears while sipping a coke and smoking a cigarette

across from a disheveled yahoo saloon. Still torn

between hopscotch and jump rope as adolescents

race to shed their virginity. College boys in country

club dress, take a walk to the other side, enticing

and seductive, beautiful and dangerous.

A black motorcycle with an extended front end calls out,

the freedom of the road, the freedom to be wild to

carry them away. But, tonight they settle huddled

around the boob tube in the living room, an encounter

with an exotic creature of unknown origin after

drinking the leftover orange juice. Acceleration,

ecstasy, ominous and foreboding, a contrast of black

and white suspended above the ground. And then

coming down to pounce on the pavement and howl

into the night. Ride a cloud as thunder rolls in your

wake, engine running, racing to nowhere, condemned

to dangle between heaven and earth, and glide across

a wildflower meadow to prospect the rug for wayward rocks.

Gazing upon infinite reflections within the eye

on the I, while the girls sit crying with your family,

always pushing the limit and going to the extreme.

Broken shells, scattered on weathered rocks

as stars shimmer on the ripples of Mill River. Take in the

sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes and the feel

of the experience salvaged from a junk pile, and other

loose parts packed in a cardboard box. Disappeared,

never to be seen or heard from again, with the funk

of cigarette smoke mixed with the stench of stale beer,

creased with the lines of many miles and many years.

An example of youth exploiting youth, it’s all the rage,

a brief interlude like the passing of a summer storm

“Rolling Park” by Kevin Martin

Rolling Park


By Kevin Martin

Remember when Walmart only sold “made in America”.
Remember growing
up in the south, if we put corn on the grill
it was because we grew corn and beans
with squash.  Native Americans called this trio the three sisters.
Remember snapping beans into a bucket.
My brother and me would run through the old used husks
of corn at the end of
our childhood days.

We used sticks found in the black widow
woods with sandbox complete to chop down corn stalks like samurai
cutting bamboo at
slanted angles.

One minute until sundown

Cleared field

Our lone Ranger Brand six shooter
cap guns in holsters
we were gunslingers.

Fingers resting on hips beside
my Colt on display

We are wolf twin brothers so this
youthful showdown
is like looking into my own eyes slanted like a low plains drifter.

Photography by Brian Michael Barbeito

Feature Contribution from Canadian Poet : Brian Michael Barbeito

Photography by Brian Michael Barbeito



(Are You a Writer or When Spring Withdraws Her Charms and Leaves You Alone with The Acrimonious Ice)

What shall you do now that your computer and technological devices are broken? You have no camera either, no little thing to prop you up, to focus you. Are you willing to hike when everyone has gone home or not come at all for the inclement weather? And can you write after on paper, with nobody watching, possibly even with a pencil? Maybe your knuckles are still bloody from the fall. If you use the proper pronouns and tenses and clean up the blood somebody might read it. You don’t have to be a good writer, or a good hiker, that is not what is meant. Better to be a bad writer and a shaky hiker than a good anything else. So here we go…

Clouds large like continents.

It’s daylight but it might as well be night. The clouds move in and make the firmament opaque, saturated with dark blue and grey but not the types from movies and poems no, some other manner that is somehow trenchant, ready to quarrel, up to no good as they say. To be completely honest, there is at the beginning in the distance a couple there under the wind and coming winter storm. They can’t be more than thirty, have a medium size brown or beige dog at foot, and are slowly walking around the other side. I head in the opposite direction, to the more solitary and winding and far reaching area. I glance one last time back in the direction of the lot and then the couple. They have stopped to kiss and the dog runs around joyfully, a naive mix of hair and ears and tail against the snowy earth. Kissing in this? They must be either having an affair or newly in love. Crazy.

Sooner or later you see it all…

The wind rhymes with nothing. It just sounds itself in one constant and continuous note.

I move in and can see that the few spring like days have made a dangerous mess out of the area. These are the worst possible conditions. What happened was that the snow melted to slush, hikers and walkers and canines walked on it and made hundreds if not thousands of prints, indentations, edges and crevices of every size and shape and manner. Then, if it had been real spring, there would have come next some more slush and mud and good old fashioned water. But the warm was just a glitch in the weather and it froze and froze hard over night. I kept walking and trying to stay to the sides in the hope that for some reason, somehow, it might get better. I mean, we were already there and into it.

It didn’t.

The lovers didn’t show up, which was good. It would be me and the hills and valleys and open spaces for better or worse. The wind reved itself up and I kept watch, waiting as I was, to see some solitary fox, rabbit, or coyote run by or look from somewhere in the distance.


A blackbird alights on a scarecrow-like tree and becomes part of the beach system.

I kept on and went up and down and saw a large valley almost barren of leaves and bushes. I could see into its secrets like an inspector of the cosmos. Little leaves brushed themselves here or there and sometimes one but often a grouping flew up a trunk or over a boulder and swirled ’round in the air just so before becoming unleavened again. These bits of things were dead yet the pre storm winds had resurrected and animated them.

Lazarus are the leaves.

You have to watch your footing. Every step. For my daydreaming and head poetry I had gazed into the valley too long and fell down a ridge tumbling like one of those leaves. Hands bloodied, ego harmed also, I got myself up and wiped the dirt and blood on my blue ambulance pants with cargo pockets and a knife turned to the inside latched on by a joined silver clip. Now they are blue and brown and red plus the snow is falling on them.

I find a summit and stand there. It becomes impossibly cold then as the temperature drops and I am in the open. Any slight romantic notion of ‘person in nature’ leaves. I am part of the wind and ice. I walk on after surveying the land for
miles in all directions. In the south I see tree lines where I have been on the inside and there are hidden birches and Chaga mushrooms harvested. It’s like a fairy tale in the summer or autumnal months. To the north are the hilly fields if fields can be allowed to be hilly. There are old fences and boulders, strange places in the middle where wildflowers grow tinted blue and adorned with bright pink and purple hues.

Worlds within worlds.

I walk more and do an odd thing. I open my wallet and pull out a coupon for a free coffee. There is a picture of the coffee and the steam rising from it. I almost slip again and quickly put away this remnant of the world and its comforts. Going along there I pause and look at the tree line that stands and watches silently where I came from. It’s barren branches make shapes of little gnomes, rare and unknown large birds, skeletal structures of creatures against the stormy and impossibly deep blue-grey sky. I inhale the wind that is coming at me, like Hamsun healing himself atop a train car. Prayers are made inside the head to God, The Christ, The Virgin Mother, Saints, Angels, Guardians, Guides, and Ancestors. For what? For life, for continuance all in all, and to be a part of the highest will and

I walk along and over more little hills and then go off the path and wander willfully atop snow and around logs. This time I touch the logs carefully and surely and for long times with both hands. One of the dogs comes up and sniffs my hand and thinks I have gone crazy. The other jumps up on me from the right side and is happy and dizzy with the entire idea and experience of exploring this winter day.

It darkens but I walk through a series of winter reeds light beige. They blow over and against me and shake on my legs and hips. I am soon immersed in the reeds. I baptize myself then, inside the reeds and by their song and dance, by simply being with them in spirit under the maudlin shadows of the cloud cover and the capricious ways of inner and outer weather I have come to know.



New Poem by Contributing Poet Kevin Martin “Joy”

Has anyone ever felt the
like a rift
of paradigm
that is following
and waiting
to retrieve all
the little bundles
of emotion
that have been left
to lay
until upon rediscovery
can be opened and
as little
of joy
that wait
“Joy” By Kevin Martin
Photography by Morgan Jenea