Welcome to the second issue of Hidden Constellation.

I am glad you’re taking the time to visit this page and I think your time will be well-spent.

It’s been oft-repeated that the number of poetry fans out there is roughly the same number of poetry writers out there. I believe this to be pretty true.

I also believe most poets are busy people, busy writing poetry and promoting their poetry. (I know I’m busy in these areas, at least.)

Hopefully you will do more than pop on, read a poem you’ve perhaps written or maybe one a friend has written, then go off and write more poetry. I urge you: Read poems here by people you don’t already know. Discover a new writer who may speak to you in a way that will help you become a better reader and writer of our chosen art form.

Come back from time to time and discover or re-discover favorites.

Take care, and as always, THANK YOU!

Mike Griffith

(All poems below are copyright their respective authors.
Poet names and any short biographical sketch they sent in appears before their respective poems.)

 

Daginne Aignend is a pseudonym for the Dutch writer, poetess, photographic artist Inge Wesdijk. She likes hardrock music, fantasy books, is a vegetarian who loves her animals. She’s the Poetry Editor of Whispers and has been published in many poetry journals, magazines and anthologies. She has a fun project website http://www.daginne.com

Curiosity kills

She was curious,
friends told her
it wasn’t addictive.
Only temporarily
fun and unwinding.
She needed relaxation!
Being a Supermodel
is stressful, exhausting.
She would try it,
only once.
One snort of cocaine
to keep the spirit up.
It worked, it was fantastic.
She owns the world!

Skin and bones,
a pale skin, hollow eyes.
A fragment of the
beautiful girl, she used to be.
One more time,
then she would quit.
She stumbles, not capable
to balance anymore on
those high heels.
She collapses,
falls down the Catwalk.
Curiosity
has ultimately
killed her.

Eddie Awusi is an internationally published poet whose pieces have been regularly appearing online and in anthologies.

I SURRENDER

I surrender to earth;
I surrender to the sky –
Vocal shotguns in hands,
Shot up in defiant submission.

I surrender to the seas;
I surrender to the firmaments;
I surrender to life;
I surrender to death;
I surrender to the world under.

I surrender to my innate yearning,
Bathing in the fragments of my passion.
I weave my days into accolades,
Waiting on a speechless thunderstorm.

I surrender to bliss;
I surrender to pain;
I surrender to my distorted infancy:
Evoking a childhood, I never had.

Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, consultant and freelance writer. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications including Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal; Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; the Tishman Review, and Wilderness House Literary Press.

Winter Hope
Grey and white kitten
visits every morning

sheltered by barren
branches, her paw

extends exploring
ice and snow hoping

each dead leaf might
reveal breakfast.

Ashley Cooke is a creative writing major attending Long Beach City College. She is from Long Beach, CA. She is currently working on her first poetry collection entitled “Like Pulling Teeth”. She works at a hospital and at a music venue.

Kiss Me

Kiss me under a tree
as spiders climb down off the branches
and crawl across our skin
so we can have an excuse for the goosebumps

Kiss me in the ocean
while the tide is high so we are swept side to side
then we can deny that the stomach acid
is because we are nervous

Kiss me on a spinning ride
sending our heads into a scrambled mess
so we can blame our dizzy minds
on something other than euphoria

Let’s do anything to deny
that we make each other sick
in the best way.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran, poet and fabulist from New Hampshire, now residing on the southern plains of Oklahoma. Ken enjoys music, writing, walking in the woods at night and spending time with his cats Willa, Hemi, Turbo and Yumpy. His work has appeared in Literary Orphans, The Burningword Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review,  Black Poppy Review, The Blue Heron, GNU Journal, EMBOSS Magazine and many more. Ken is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and twice for Best of the Net, 2016-2017.

Filet of Soul

Rising from the icy grasp
of an obstinate Black Hole;
escaping on the crest of
a shooting stars bristling tail
An atom’s enigma of creation
in this planetary dust bowl
a distorted ray of matter
oblivious to pretentious detail.
Bouncing on the Moon
with erratic bouncy steps
racing of light beams
to the Sun’s inner core.
Traversing a fiery nebula
where many come to weep
Kissing a bluish falling star
as wishes are often ignored.
A spirited welcome haste
to rejoin all of humanity
choking on the stardust
in a silent flavored sky
of vast constellations.
Ready for lifetime trials
with harmonizing disgrace.
Free of a pouting serpent
in a final flaming goodbye.

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, Literary Yard, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Old Hat

Be ever mindful of the slapstick.
Of the poking of eyes and thwarting hands
in the way. If you ever want to see a city die,
watch the many lights of its sky scrapers
go out. Thrust up out of a main artery
in the backseat of some dented metal projectile
so distance learning can have its day in
someone’s fading sun.

Be late to the party.
Curl up tight as a ball of wool
set aside for slippers.

Watch grandkids
become grandparents.

Finding only wrinkles
where once
there were faces.

Fired with an eager
love.

Gemma P. Geslani, PhD is a Filipino-American biochemist who calls herself a “bio-poet.” An academician who quit the profession three years ago, she loves books, travel, music, nature, futbol, tango, and classical poetry. She has published three poetry books and is working on her fourth. Her greatest inspiration is her late Papa.

The Wedding

Her wedding gown is almost done,
with lace and beads that softly shine;
The invitations have been signed
in golden ink, with doves entwined.

Her rose bouquet has been designed
with white buds, strapped with silver strands;
Their rings engraved with love so grand
are nestled in her bedroom stand.

The vows she’d sculpted in her mind-
she would recite each day and night;
The church they booked is down the street
where she was born, baptized, and raised.

This busy, bubbly bride-to-be
tackles the tasks so happily,
for her beloved’s far away
fighting for country fearlessly.

As visions of their dreams divine
little by little spring to life,
fate intervened with news unkind–
delivered by a sniper’s hand.

Her chosen bridal melody
was Pachelbel’s canon in D,
but now that sweet strain silently
surrenders to taps’ mournful pleas.

Her radiant march no one would see,
for ne’er would come that glorious day;
no petals piled on scarlet aisle
would waft their fragrance as she smiles.

But ashes of her misery
would rain on friends and family,
and settle on her groom-to-be’s
flag-covered crate in solemn grey.

Then came her damned and dreaded day–
when side by side to God they’d pray
to stand together come what may–
she heard a voiceless whisper say:

“I’m here to wipe your tears away
and take them all to heav’n with me;
each day I’ll kiss them tenderly
as I await our wedding day.”

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director (AD) of Adhere + Deny. Currently AD of Two Horses of Paladin. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States, Wales, India and England. He has three books published, On the Bright Side of Down, Bus Stop Bus Stop and Open Fragments, an eBook The Cowboy At Odds and Ends, and two chapbooks Buster Alone and Crooked Observations. He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC’s Making A Difference Award.

Sunday in the Park in Winter

Sunday in the park in winter
They were cold chilled to the bone
They did not notice
All they noticed was each other
They were in the spring of their love

Darrell Herbert is a nationally recognized poet. He has earned a national silver medal in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. He earned a gold key from Casita​ ​Maria​ ​Center​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Arts​ ​&​ ​Education. He is also a songwriter, humanitarian, author, and artivistst.

Cantus Firmus

I understood that society had no room for me, and I had no room for society, I never have
To go to the respectable dreamy like society, to the nocturnal side
Was like changing sides in a war
It’s like the blind leading the blind

So empty, so phantom empty
No, a revolver has a drum that revolves
In the throats of love, I was weak, no match for her
But, the goodbye was sad, strangely unforgiven

Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collection “Big Questions, Little Sleep.”  She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Nominee. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals. Linda’s creative process and a current, complete listing of sites which have or will publish her work can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.   In addition to writing, this Yoga practitioner is an avid reader and budding illustrator, plays classical guitar, and helps her Luthier husband build guitars.

The Grandeur of Sound

Songmaster,
making thoughts bleed inside your brain,
becoming settled as complete thoughts.

Once clutching images, now fleeting,
gathering soldiers of lexicon,
standing the test of time and rhyme,
winning or losing, setting your teeth on edge,
that spyglass into your soul.

Sound is everywhere at all times.
It cannot be drowned out, sublime,
validating feelings,
lining them up for the assault on your senses.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  Mr. Johnson published in more than 1010 publications, his poems have appeared in 35 countries, he edits, publishes 10 different poetry sites.  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL, nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/and 2 Best of the Net 2017.

Painted Cat (V2)

This painted cat
on my balcony
hangs in this sun,
bleaches out
it’s wooden
survival kit,
cut short-
then rots
chips
paint
cracks
widen in joints,
no infant sparrow wings
nestled in this hole
beneath its neck-
then falls down.
No longer a swinger
in latter days, August wind.

Dave Kavanagh lives and writes in a small fishing village in North Count Dublin.
His work includes poetry, prose & short fiction. Dave has work recently published online at,  Fourth & Sycamore, Algebra of Owls, Taxicab, Iconoclast and others. His poetry has recently been included in the anthologies Poetry Soup’ (International Poetry Foundation) and ‘Indelible Poets’. Dave is originator and co-editor of The Blue Nib. http://magazine.thebluenib.com/

Sick

The air tastes vile
as the first day of laryngitis,
battery acid,
or the unexpected retch
of bad sushi.

The sea regurgitating,
in violent reflux,
as wave on wave
sucks and heaves
It’s detritus
ashore.

Alicja Maria Kuberska – awarded Polish poetess, novelist, journalist, editor.
She is an author of many volumes and a novel. Her poems have been published in numerous anthologies and magazines in Poland, Czech Republic, the USA, the UK, Belgium ,Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Israel, Canada, India, Italy, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia. Alicja Kuberska is a member of the Polish Writers Associations in Warsaw, Poland and IWA Bogdani, Albania. She is also a member of directors’ board of Soflay Literature Foundation.

Departure

I helped you to pack your things into a suitcase,
Stuff scattered carelessly,
Entangled in your arrivals and departures.
Expected days have passed.
The day before yesterday turned into today,
With the date of the sentence printed on the ticket.

Gradually, the traces of your stay began to disappear,
The fragrance of your perfume got out.
The last sheet dropped from the calendar.
In our minds there is the autumn solstice
And consent to the inevitable parting.
Emptiness as winter haunts the cold.

Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he occasionally edits the lit-zine ART:MAG. He has recent poetry in HARBINGER ASYLUM, THE OPEN MOUSE, DEGENERATE LITERATURE, THE FIVE-TWO, VOX POETICA, and elsewhere. He was nominated in 2017 for a Pushcart Prize in poetry by GREEN SILK JOURNAL. His latest poetry book is Poems for the Downtrodden Millennium from The Medulla Review Publishing.

Replicate Felon

Untrammeled complexity of life
not getting your boils down?
Sing of something to shoplift,
regaling your thirst at midnight
before cable villains fade in
ambiguity’s wellspring on CCTV,
a bequest from sorry infidels
in the convenience store simply
becoming a clock without hands,
testament to all irrational forces
(like lacking enough quarters
for a foodstuff binge — ) bedeviling us;
& ungently traffic roars interminably
outside on AC/DC’s highway to hell

while the vibes inside us
suffer head-on crashes
in fatal numbers.

A spellbound necessity,

your first attempt to hold up a place
with the replica of a snout-nosed pistol
the police will later claim was the real thing,
knocking fateful chance back
into the senseless digital realm we live in,
where images continue to replicate us

no matter how
unseen by society
we really are

Mysti S. Milwee is an award winning artist, digital artist photographer, and published poet from Southside, Alabama. Her poetry has been published in the PPP E-Zine (India)-Poetics Interview-October-Volume 1: Issue 5-2017; The Alabama Baptist-”Beyond The Veil”-March 30,2017; The Mountain Press- “Gatlinburg Strong”-December 11,2016. Her poetry has been used in academic studies and ministries across the US and abroad. Her art was published in the GloMag (India) in an ekphrastic collaboration with Scott Thomas Outlar

Dancing with the Mop

Always down with mop
flipping swishing soap
through spaghetti strings
sounds of my footsteps
squeaky and clean
with me in my blue jeans
smiling with a big grin
spinning around
dipping it like its hot
holding the handle like
our love is strong
embrace the moment
leading us across the floor.
When life gets down and
dirty we clean it up and
soak up the glory.

Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a six-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016/17 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, Drunk Monkeys, Algebra Of Owls, Free State Review, and The Paragon Journal. His chapbook, An Animal Resembling Desire, will be published by Finishing Line Press.  He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.

Nostalgic Hate

My ears listen to you lovingly
until the very end of love.

At the finish my hatreds harken,
my mind figures it is a weapon

made of paper and tattoo ink.
I’d journey to East Asia and do us

love-making in origami.
Listen to the paper fold finely.

Imagine my ears there,
where hate is nostalgic

finalization of affection,
where the only thing that’s heard

is me disassembling, each time,
every time, at the end of tenderness.

Claudia Piccinno was born in the south of Italy in1970, but she moved very young in the north of Italy where she currently lives and where she teaches in a primary school, she is scholastic referent land for education at reading. Operating in more than seventy anthologies, she’s a former member of the jury in many national and international literary prizes.

Nawal, the queen of the pier

They call her the angel of illegal migrants.
She supervises on the landfall of adults and children.
She warns the coastguard before the storm is raging.
She tells migrants to watch their backs
from those looking for laborers pretending to be saints.
Nawal is thin and beautiful among all her sisters,
the night helmsmen are afraid of her,
daytime patrons avoid her.
Nawal has a headkerchief on her head
and a very grievous competence.
She feeds and rigs out the brothers of the sea,
urging them not to stumble in evil.
Nawal is tiny and she has the witty expression,
a project in her mind and no fear in her heart.
Nawal is the queen of the pier,
She protects them all from deceit and malice.

Dedicated to Nawal Soufi https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/06/159830/nawal-soufi-the-moroccan-guiding-angel-of-mediterranean-migrants/

Tarana Turan Rahimli is an Azerbaijani poet and literary critic. She is a PhD in Philology, Associate Professor of Azerbaijan and World Literature Chair of Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University, author of 7 books and more than 400 articles. His works were published in England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Chile, India, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries. Azerbaijan, Italy, Turkey, Chile, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tatarstan and other countries.

Praising of stone

What a human being forgets, the memory of stone doesn’t forget.
There are those who throw stones unfairly; the unfair stone isn’t thrown.
Tell your dreams to the flowing waters and tell your secret to a black stone.
Stone is your friend at the end of life and it is brother to your grave.

The locked doors were opened after we knocked them with stones.
The stones built our houses.

Strangers can’t bear to listen to our grief, but stones listen,
Stones shed tears for the motion of life., stones whines for grief of life.
The leaves, flowers fade away and stones are left on the hearth
The stone of thousand years makes history remember us.

Debra Sasak Ross is a published poet from Chicago, IL. Besides reading and writing she loves thunderstorms and blizzards. You can find her work in the anthologies “Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze,” and “Dandelion in a Vase of Roses” by Michael Lee Johnson, chief editor and Ken Allan Dronsfield, co-editor and online at The Poet Community.com and AllPoetry.com

Slipping Away (For my 88-year old mother and the elderly)

Day after day
I watch you slipping away.
First it is the day,
Then a memory,
Then my name.
You call out in the night
Wondering if I am home;
I answer, “of course I am Mama,
I would never leave you alone.”
One night you had believed
That your grand-daughter had stayed the night;
In the morning I had to remind you
That it was all in your mind.
You ask me constantly
Is it night-time or is it day?
And once again I realize
Your life is slipping away.
Your eyes that one shown with love
Now shine with tears and confusion.
Day after day,
I watch you slipping away.

In this life, Wayne Russell has been many things, a soldier, a sailor, a singer, a mimic and life of the party comic, a creative writer, and a father; he has also been a photographer, founding editor & chief, and graphic designer.

Blind Vision

As I walk the dog, seasons faze, from one into the
next, treacherous summer into frozen fields of winter.

Ravens cackle as sparrows flee, the sandhill crane,
nonexistent here in my new home of; midwestern
meanderings.

I surrender and elope with the oak, stripped naked,
of foliage, together unraveling; at these cool morning
steams.

We partake from the rusted gauntlet of mother earth,
used abused, cast aside into ravenous jaws of distant
wolfs.

We are of lone Indian ancestry, descendants in mock
venison hide, I cannot sleep while the forest bleeds out
from our view and while the raven’s laughter deceives
dawns gentle surrender.
What then would we have left from insanity’s depletion
of earth’s blind vision?

Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 published books, including the novel Black Rainbow (Sherman Asher, 2015) and Geographic: A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon). which just won the 2016 Arizona/New Mexico Book Award in Poetry. She founded and headed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement this year. Her blog Miriam’s Well (http://miriamswell.wordpress.com) has a thousand daily readers. Her awards include the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa.

(Untitled)

I forgot
to lock the gate
and let the clouds in by mistake
dark red at sunset
pale and enticing pink at dawn

they obscure
my mind’s eye

and in every baroque frame
in the hermit’s house
clouds sit
waiting
to grow heavier
and rain to earth.

Eliza Segiet – graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Arts and Literature at Jagiellonian University. Torn between poetry and drama. Likes to look into the clouds, but keeps both feet on the ground. Her heart is close to the thought of Schopenhauer: “Ordinary people merely think how they shall ‘spend’ their time; a man of talent tries to ‘use’ it”.

Chase

I’m racing with death,
it chases me, stops me,
stings every hour.

I’m racing with time.
Not just mine.

 Children. Children.
They have short steps.

Maybe
with human help
it will be possible to overcome
 the planned annihilation?

Ann Christine Tabaka is a nominee for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry.
She lives in Delaware, USA. She is a published poet and artist. She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her most recent credits are Page & Spine, The Paragon Journal, The Literary Hatchet, The Stray Branch, Trigger Fish Critical Review; Foliate Oak Review, The Metaworker, Raven Cage Ezine, RavensPerch, Anapest Journal, Mused, Apricity Magazine, Longshot Island, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, Advaitam Speaks Literary Journal, Ann Arbor Review.

Half Dream

Gilded morning shatters sleep,
dreams cling on with tenacious teeth.
A confused reality sorting through
a fragmented emotional state.

Warm bed, cold toast.
Sensations linger throughout the day.
A boy’s voice, a woman’s smile.
A forgotten combination from
the locker in the empty hall calls out.
A swimming pool where there is none.

Fingers trace circles only the mind can see.
The scene drifts then vanishes.
Slowly sloughing off images with a shudder,
A resemblance of normality settles in.

As evening nods its head,
a whispered sigh snakes into the night
Livening in a world of half dreams,
only to begin again.

Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has recently appeared at VerseWrights, In Between Hangovers, and in the first print issue of Ramingo’s Porch. She has fifteen poems in Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology. All proceeds from the anthology are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Post-Death

Rubber-bands on my wrist are
still proof that I exist.
I propped myself up, puppet-like
with no spine,
on the cadaver cold cement floor.
Asked myself several times,
“Do they know what you’re going through?”
Only to lift my chin and soldier on,
calmed the blood down by an incantation
I often recite, and said repeat after me and
stream-rolled on.
Most clock-ticks, I am stronger than you think.
And I set a Molotov cocktail fire to any doubt,
and piano key tap anyone willing
to challenge my carriage strong heart.

David Lloyd Williams is a poet who lives near Oxford in the UK. In addition to writing poetry he is a stained glass artist. He says that his poetry is often spontaneous and inspired. He draws inspiration from an observation of life and his own experiences within it.

The Cavern Club

Girls nowadays
With their deep voices and masculine ways
Oh how I long for those Mary Quant dresses
Furtive glances
Stolen caresses
Times waiting in the Cavern Club queue
We’ll take you
And you
And you
And you
Then down into Hades
With the smoke and condensation
The youth revolution
That would transform a nation
With the music pounding to a Mersey beat
Pass me a whisky
I like it neat
Neat
Neat

Cavernous ceilings enclosing all within
A joyous reverie
Devoid of sin
Feminine beauty and sirens abound
An Homeric Odyssey
Underground

Life would never be so vibrant again
Just a melancholy memory
Deep in my brain

Oh youth
So innocent and brief
A backwards glance
In disbelief

Emma Woodford is social activist and poet based in Belgium. When not writing she brings up two daughters, walks in the countryside and works on civil society projects. A new poet, Emma has so far been published online in Academy of the Heart and Mind and Ariel Chart

Glacial

Time edged behind closed eyes
transfixed the drone
glided by my captured soul
spellbound.
Block crumbled spell
broke silence
remains

Irida ZUSI was born in August 17th, 1989 in Lezha, Albania. She is an awarded poetess, writer, translator, a great lover of books; songwriter, lyricist. Above all, poetry and songwriting are her greatest passion of her life, but first she is a Dreamer”. She won the Special Prize “Poesia dei Popoli-in memoria di Alfredo Pirola”-Triuggio” ITALY for the poetry “WINTER” in March, 2017. Her writings are in her mother tongue (Albanian), in English, Italian, Spanish.

The Silence

The quietness is like a rendezvous with silence.
A place lost in oblivion waits, where none had been.
An outside peaceful sense she highly holds deepens.

Moments that reveal the truth, like an untold unfinished story
in the eye of the needle –
An unopened door to watch it all, twist it all, or hide it all

Every teardrops down the cheek that rolls
Like a window glass, watch its shards fall
In silence
Turning everything into the sounds of the broken.

The inner voices, like a scream inside, turn into whispers;
The shards of a scattered heart hurt like fire lanterns.
The silence
Becomes a fortress wall,
In the abyss of empty, unholy nights in the end.

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