Poetry Drawer: Expat: Made Up in Laughing: Port of Call: The Pronation of Shangri La: Trading Post at the Edge of Known by Joe Albanese


Bound to North
Not home nor far
Made by escape,
A hope to fight

Trust lantern lost
Believed or touched
Fade made by dark,
And light by light

When cold turns warmth
And prayer divides
Be either sail in storm,
Or spark from night

Made Up in Laughing

Frame half-open windows
Slip out of billows
Stomp on the sunlight
       stamped in the sidewalk
Dry and kind

Call off a shadow
Tripped up in meadow
The sere breath is casting,
         made up in laughing
Holding all chance others left behind

When day drops to fair-low
Return not its sparrow
Its echo’s in moonlight,
         verve in the clockwork
Draped in the caul of what we can’t unwind

Port of Call

Damp stains
Beneath a starlit sky

The gutter is calling
For all memory; it’s time

Let go
The winds already fled to leave behind

A world not falling
Port of call and not again

The Pronation of Shangri La

Bellowed to the threat of any falling leaves
Softcore Shangri La is gone but far from freed
Caught in the tired idea that petrichor is wrong

Upended by some heathen in the scattered steam
A valley that’s been dried out yet not quite cleared
Cross-eyed, unremarkable garden forms a path

Retreaded by many so-and-sos just like me
To the beacon of kingdom con and its seams
Whatever’s being kicked up stains twice, and

there’s no going back

Trading Post at the Edge of Known

Empty more mistaken pearl
to curl fate

and find oneself

somewhere with
no stars
and no fear,
no knots and
no ends

The varied cost not haggled,
just peaked and tipped

Traverse naught and koan, and
trust the seed into the flame

leaving only an epitaph of sand

Go without stars
Go without fear

Joe Albanese is a writer from South Jersey. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have been published in 12 countries. Joe is the author of Benevolent KingCainaCandy Apple RedFor the Blood is the LifeSmash and Grab, and a poetry collection, Cocktails with a Dead Man.

Poetry Drawer: Blunt Lessons by Skaja Evens

I’ve picked up skills from unlikely sources
Some starker than others
The strongest lessons coming from those
With challenging circumstances

I’ve found it difficult to learn from anyone
That never had to face adversity
Didn’t have to hustle, at some point
To keep food on the table, or a roof overhead

Those that didn’t have to wonder if things would ever improve

I want those in the liminal spaces
That navigated the underground
That know how to see in the dark
And can find light in the most unlikely places

Those who speak the truth
And give voice to the silenced
Finding strength to keep moving forward
Even when hated by the the bandwagoning masses

Skaja Evens is a writer and artist living in Southeast Virginia. She edits It Takes All Kinds, a litzine published by Mōtus Audāx Press. She’s  been published in Spillwords Press, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, and The Crossroads Lit Magazine.

Flash in the Pantry: The Beach by Laura Stamps

I turn another page. To an article. About the beach. Specifically, how to walk your dog. At the beach. Okay. This I know. Not about walking dogs. But the beach. That’s what I know. Now. But not always. When I left my husband. Ten years ago. When I got in my car and began to drive. Through one state. And then another. And another. And another. Driving, driving, driving. I finally reached the ocean. And that’s when I stopped. Not that the ocean was my destination. It wasn’t. There was no destination. Just escape. I stopped because I was driving a car. Not a boat. And cars don’t float. Actually, I’d never seen the ocean before. Or the beach. I mean, there isn’t an ocean or beach in Kansas City. And that’s where I’m from. But now I’m at the ocean. On the coast of North Carolina. Far away from Missouri. And my husband. (Thank God!). So I decided to stay. Here. In Wilmington. But just for a while. Not long. Just a little while. I found an apartment. And a job at a beachwear store. Selling bathing suits to tourists. Selling tacky souvenirs made from seashells. Selling t-shirts. And I still work there. Ten years later. Believe it or not. Selling beachwear to summer tourists. Selling golf paraphernalia to winter tourists. What can I say? I like it. It’s a job. It’s fun. And it pays the bills. Speaking of beachwear. And the store. We received a shipment of t-shirts this week. Lots of new designs. And one is a Chihuahua. Really cute. I’ve been pretending it’s Max. My imaginary dog. I should use my employee discount. Get some of those Chihuahua t-shirts. In different colours. One for every day of the week. Just for fun. To wear. To work. I mean, why not? They really do look like Max. And he’s such a good dog. My Max. My imaginary dog. Now I can pretend I walk him on the beach too. Thanks to this article. In this dog magazine. But okay. Enough of that. Enough pretending. My lunch break is almost over. Got to get back to the store. And selling, selling, selling.

Laura Stamps loves to play with words and create experimental forms for her fiction and prose poetry. Author of 43 novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry books. Most recently: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press 2021), DOG DAZED (Kittyfeather Press 2022), and THE GOOD DOG (Prolific Pulse Press 2023). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations.  

Poetry Drawer: I’m the Writer and the Woman Buying a Bus Ticket: Trauma by Jenny Middleton

I’m the Writer and the Woman Buying a Bus Ticket

Louder than the island’s traffic
cicadas’ shake a tinder percussion
from long, straying grass.

They are as unseen
as a writer, who
years away, will tap at a keyboard

and listen to a printer
scuttle over paper
in the hope of recapturing the fizz
of you and me waiting

for a bus amid buzzing
cicadas -burning with songs more
ancient than lyres
joking about the bus being as
mythical as Pegasus or Persephone

before scrunching the poem of it back
into the blankness of letters hissing
as they flicker out –
incompleting a neon cocktail sign
outside a city window, while miles away

your hand is still tightly holding mine
as we clamber aboard a bus
and pay drachmas for our tickets.


She has no words in school today.
To match, I make mine tiny,
firm stones; imperatives placed
next to pictures
to round their requests,

balancing the real on a surf of
swaying meaning. She responds,
tracing sounds to her own.

Reading opens and closes
its booked meanings. She decodes
words into elephants, heavy, andante,
stepping sense slowly from the page
to something
new from thumbed pages.

Her body folds beneath a uniform
of crumpled grey polyester,
as she hunches at the desk,
skin prickling with webbed scabs,
self-scratched; still raw, still red.

The bathroom’s razored blur
smudging at the back.

Jenny is a working mum and writes whenever she can amid the fun and chaos of family life. Her poetry is published in several printed anthologies, magazines and online poetry sites.  Jenny lives in London with her husband, two children and two very lovely, crazy cats.  You can read more of her poems at her website

You can find more of Jenny’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Sonnet about Apollonian beauty of the world by Paweł Markiewicz

We think of the fascinating charm.
We fantasize about wizardry.
We ponder on the amazing bard.
We reflect on poetic beauty.

We muse about astonishing moon.
We dream of the surprising vessel.
We philosophize about fair throne.
We describe awesome Indian summers.

We ruminate on the brilliant pearls.
We remember overwhelming sun.
We commemorate impressive tides.
We daydream of bewildering souls.

We recall the staggering sailor.
We contemplate the breathtaking storm.

Paweł Markiewicz was born 1983 in Siemiatycze in Poland. He is poet who lives in Bielsk Podlaski and writes tender poems, haiku as well as long poems. Paweł has published his poetries in many magazines. He writes in English and German.

You can find more of Paweł’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: To paint a Vulture: Sleepy Whale 412: 415: 387 by Terry Brinkman

To paint a Vulture

Dream of the Vulture the night before
Find an eleven by fourteen inch canvas
Sharpen a true H Pencil
Sketch the outline of the Vulture between your tears
Paint the white first and last
Paint the sky blue of her eyes
Drink a pint, let to dry
Three yellows and two Reds
Paint the beak, the eye
Blood Red for her Head
Paint feathers using last night fire ash
Highlight the beak and eye so to speak
Paint Cliff and toes with shades of sorrow
Pen your name

Sleepy Whale 412

Gallivanting around
Like Vultures hunting in the wet straw
Driving dusty old Macintosh Cadillac
Vulture-ugh subsequently ride
Freely cracking with her Guffaw in the back seat
Saints and Sages fly over like Hopscotch See-Saw
Tiger Lilies Three half ones in a stack in the glove box
Horns Dragon-Lilies Zodiac lie in a bunch on the floor
Taste her Irish Brandy sniffer lips in Awe

Sleepy Whale 415

Spiritual condition of a Vulture falling slowly
Eager anticipation drinking communal Wine
Emunctory field of blue Apricots
Haunting remorse with holes in her blindfold
Motley affair nightly with her robot
Solemnities of the very new sun rise
Shiny used white flint pocket knife
She covers the Biscuit Tin’s full of gold

Sleeping Whale 387

Humours of her midnight criticizing
Dancing at the book release ball
Dark woman, fair man’s brawl
In the dark Gun Powder Cigarettes appetizing
Life after life baptizing
Eager anticipation for all
Golden poop slips and falls
Blue Irish eyes apologizing
Drink a Pint to heavenly blessed
The last come first
Weasel rat pest
Alabaster silent outburst
Like a cat to its claws dressed
All wind, piss with the worst
Nobbling his last pint best
Always knock first

Terry Brinkman has been painting for over forty five years. Has Five Amazon E- Books. Poems in Rue Scribe, Tiny Seed. Winamop, Snapdragon Journal, Poets Choice, Adelaide Magazine, Variant, the Writing Disorder, Ink Pantry, In Parentheses, Ariel Chat, New Ulster, Glove, and in Pamp-le-mousse, North Dakota Quarterly, Barzakh, Urban Arts, Wingless Dreamer, LKMNDS and Milk Carton Press.

You can find more of Terry’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: Outlier: Strictures: Market Man: The Daily Catch: Voila & Other Silly Little Miracles: Secrets Never Cease by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


That cold cube of ice against a flurry of fire escape lips, naughty rap
rap knuckles so far beyond initial infraction, dead batteries for a dying
world; I am twisted nerve endings like internal ponytails on the pull,
and feelings don’t mean what tuk tuks mean, the data could not be
less clear; sciatica for the flimsy paper plate rapture –
Ostracism is a vast love of distance above all else,
corrugated rooftops catch distant rin tin tin rain, this retina detached
outlier behind weepy ronin pink eye sabbatical; unbroken briefcase
cyphers so file folders can stay on the lam –
you cannot touch me for I am unquarried stone on salamander prowl:
biting, glacial, indifferent as a mild pooling blah.


And who among you would censure moth for flame,
spire from bell,
who among the narrow-numbs should be first to fasten the
restraints, limit passage, lob cannonballs of criticism?
Count my absence as a disavowal, you who manage rank with
truncheon-exact priggishness,
wall in that wretched wild Thunderbird of ideas;
from my wilting lamb’s lettuce,
hissing radiators of this balding Rapunzel tower –
listen to the plethora horns
in the swelling streets below:
all awe, all awe…
toot toot toot toot.

Market Man

No need for the maudlin insincere,
the man at market names his price
which is never the price if you know better,
the way he crosses his arms, closes himself off
and prepares for battle; the barter system is total exhaustion
if I am to be honest, my heart and head
and more generous foibles never really in it,
that absurd dizzying way bountiful hypochondriacs
imagine themselves afflicted with every ailment known to medicine
and a few the white coats may have not thought of,
and the way my last monies leave my hand hurts more
than any lover that has ever retired from once warm beds;
that wrecking ball shame of heavy feet, of being taken again.

The Daily Catch

On one of my many chuffed-lung walks,
past boxed-ribboned confectionery,
beyond mossy breaker wall protections,
the smell is what you notice before anything else;
those large industrial pails below various trawler net-tangles,
the daily catch on the death squirm,
saucer-eyed dilations unaware of the descaling knives just feet away,
the numerous yellow-smocked men with vicious nicotine faces,
ashing down over the creaking wood haunt of the salaried man,
unsavoury jokes exchanged in strange mother tongues as I nod half-friendly,
pull my collar up for the cold; shuffling by in a Salvation Army Peacoat to
the end of a rotting dock where the circling gulls squawk over the
dead and dying throwaways from this morning’s briny fog-soaked haul.

Voila & Other Silly Little Miracles

Humiliation, yes yes, there is plenty of that
& brackish homestead guile
& voila and other silly little miracles
so small you almost miss them,
trip over your own feet and blame the laces
of your premature birth,
even the eagles in the trees bald before too long,
squatting as much as nesting;
nature is everyone’s landlord, the bees and the birds
& chimney soot faces with glass golden briar hoppers for hands…
the zipper on my change purse suffering from inactivity,
Swan black Thomas Mann as clunky dialysis machine,
it’s calipers squeezing infant brain juice from apricot dayglow,
breakdowns along Bullshit Road –
mold in the hinges of the kitchen cupboard
now caught under nail;
what I have is mine so long as a man is willing to catalogue
his entire existence:
Roman nose, Irish liver, enough beard hairs
to invite a thousand men to the gallows.

Secrets Never Cease

Plucked treasure hunter eyes befall you,
secrets never cease:
the crimp, the golem, this patch-played foil derived
which should offer exits for a saving face,
whirling tango divots into lined gymnasium floor;
I’m the poster child for posters,
no eight ways around it…
procrastination should be an Olympic sport,
or at least a local watering hole with recycled beer
and creaky wind-chattered windows.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Ink Pantry, Impspired Magazine, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review

You can find more of Ryan’s work here on Ink Pantry.

Poetry Drawer: unsocial media: the cure: Wake up! by Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo

unsocial media

the long and short hands move
in synchronous precision
sand flowing seamlessly
in realms of truth and reality

time, delicately sacred,
yet essence lost and wasted
in a game of algorithm,
chasing shiny bugs and trolls
down the winding rabbit hole

where the long and short hands
dig a graveyard of morrows
where sandstorm hits the eyes
with biases and lies

the cure

wind from unknown seas beckon
to leave the harbour
sail into the uncharted,
the peregrine’s heart
pumping salt water
comes alive…

Wake up!

Hear, hear!
Captain’s missing
Oh dear!

You clown,
Take the lifeboat.
Or drown.

You cluck,
This is a plane.
What luck!

Lorelyn is a self-published author of Twin deLights, “Haikuna Matata (a collection of haiku) and Hainaku! It’s Pundemic! I am Balot. Acovida dito (a collection of word plays and puns).” She is also a member of the Write Your Legacy community in the Philippines, working overseas as a medical transcriptionist. Her poetry has been featured and published in several anthologies and journals like The Haiku Foundation and Lothlorien Poetry Journal.

Poetry Drawer: The granaries were lit: The copper tree builder by Mauro De Candia

The granaries were lit

In accordance with night-time tradition,
the granaries were lit
in unison to forge
an awakening of honey,
and there we were on our knees:
punctual in thought,
with the body in horizontal delay.
Tongue, huge tongue,
angular and yellow,
flaming pagan tongue
speaking the abstract language of colour,
thundering to the ice dormitories of the mind,
tongue as still as the extinguished rifle
which, uttering a sound
delivers to dictionaries “flock”,
a winged soup of living swallows
which only a short while before was freezing in the nests.
But wanting to improvise the day
in the middle of the night,
sacrilegious anticipators
in the tradition of every sleep,
we were woken by a false mechanical god
each in his bed,
sweaty and expelled from the dreamy hut,
unworthy of the Halakhah and therefore branded
with tufts of wheat entangled in our pyjamas,
waking up,
rolling on cliffs of pillows,
falling on mattresses of icy water,
foaming with desire for the light
coming, coming in carousels of neon,
pale at first, sanguine later,
fading sleep in ridges,
in the chorale of dissenting senses.
In awakening,
head swooping to the ceiling,
tufts of wheat between his fingers.

The copper tree builder

He roamed at night
in the narrow hollows of the streets,
twisting through the fires his crackling hands.
From here his industrious crime moved
into railway stations:
He would steal copper from the depots.
Filiform foxes accompanied him,
at night, swinging on his back.
At the window,
I would watch him and learn
to know how to run in the dark
like swimming,
on asphalt that before my eyes
does not exist.
In this way I learnt
to know how to cook a thought à la cocque
that perhaps exists and shines,
white and orange –
when light has no other role
than to distribute arms,
legs, nerves, fingers and hands,
under a face.
But under the occipital river
when there is total darkness,
he insists, he works.
And here is the branch,
and the flower sprouts,
and he twists that tip on his finger.
I watched it weave
the bloody texture of the roots,
and make them converge in the centre,
inside the trunk,
then vanish again into branches:
the wind sniffs, approves and escapes
returning to the sky,
and then comes the light.
And here is the branch,
and behold, the flower sprouts,
and at that tip, along with the copper,
he twists me.

Mauro De Candia was born in Italy. He studied Modern Literature at the University of Bari. He lives in Lombardy where he works as a teacher of Literature.

In 2018, he made his debut on the literary scene with the syllogue ‘Le stanze dentro’ for Edizioni Ensemble, a book that was runner-up in the 2019 Nabokov Prize and a finalist in the 2020 Carver Prize. In 2021 he published, again for Edizioni Ensemble, a second syllogue entitled ‘Sundara’, which was awarded second place in the Nabokov Prize 2021, with live television broadcast.

A third book is ready to be published in 2023.

Poetry Drawer: Missing Person: Big Sur by David Blake

Somewhere under the Bixby bridge, high off the spirit of Kerouac,
I formed words with the letters left in the sand while you stood silent.
At the time, it felt like a new beginning, where we could start over,
to recollect the words the tide spit back up onto the shore.
But, it was the end of an article that took two years to read,
the headline: Man Searches for Himself in Other People.
Then you would creep so far into silence, apathy would engulf me, and
all the things I thought were important are what drag me under the ocean.

My ears still ring, and my chest still aches
from standing waist deep with my back to the sea
when the riptide whipped me under.

So when I think of Big Sur I think about all the cars that have driven over the cliff—
whether intentional or not.

And I think about how they’re abandoned, rusting below the waves,
clawing upward against the rocks.
I think about the couples who vanish from the shoreline,
consumed beneath the morning fog.
I think about what it takes to stop searching, what it takes to give up hope,
and where the hope goes when it eventually slips beneath the sand.

I picture Kerouac sitting beneath Bixby rummaging through grains of sand
searching for a sense of sustenance in a life he felt was insignificant.
Then I think about all the lives lost underneath Bixby bridge,
the minds that wandered over the edge hypnotized by its beauty.
I think about us running back to the car, and the words we left,
how the tide eventually came back to claim them, and how
I found a part of myself that was never missing.

David Blake is an educator, musician, and someone who pretends to be a serious business person Monday through Friday.