David J Kelly




is, was, will be

There was a man who used to stand at that corner in Hyde Park, when the speakers weren’t proselytising. He’d hang around for hours, occasionally clearing his throat. I only heard him speak the once, when he asked me the time.

At school, there was a kid who used to create imaginary friends. He had a collection of matchboxes with random, small animals in them, mostly dead. The tragedy of his situation was completely lost on us … we just thought he knew witchcraft.

There were only apes before people. Their behaviour probably warned of future social conflicts, but no-one was paying attention. We now know they sometimes eat meat, use tools and hunt in groups.

Theoretical physics states, “In the beginning there was nothing”. But from that nothing came everything. When the Big Bang took place, it was the singular, most dramatic liberation of possibilities in the history of time. Perhaps, one day, we’ll learn to cope with such freedom.

there is/was/will be
a place where things
are/were/will be perfect
it can’t/didn’t/won’t
last long
David J Kelly is an ecologist, poet and photographer. He lives and works in Dublin, Ireland and finds both scientific and artistic inspiration in the natural world. His short form poetry has been published widely. Twitter: @motto_sakura

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Mick Kulp




The octopus flashed
Calm blue and brown, teasing me
Like a fan dancer.


Pulse pounding, sweating,
I dig in my pocket for
The engagement ring.


The ruffian wind
Elbows through dogwoods leaving
Drifts of white petals


The singer wails out
Para bailar la bamba
Tequila goes down





Mick Kulp is a writer and father of two mostly grown children who have survived his shenanigans through smarts they inherited from their mother.  His nonfiction articles, fictional stories, and poems have appeared  in consumer magazines, newspapers, and literary journals.

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Ian Mullins




top and search –
patrolling winds
shake down trees


abstract oak –
a chocolate spoon
hot-melts in milk


asthmatic head cold –
your sneezes
gasp for breath


crow ascending –
lung shadow
spreads its wings




Ian Mullins bails out from Liverpool, England. The collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar is available from UB(undergroundbooks.org). He has also published poems and stories with Presence, 50 Haikus, Hellfire Crossroads, Neon, and many more.

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John Hawkhead


riding a pale horse
up the needle to a vein
slipping through shadows


another mottle
on the back of her hand
the slow IV drip


threads of dark crimson
coiling through liquid gold
sunlit catheter



John Hawkhead is a writer of haiku and other short poetry forms. He is a recent winner of the 2016 Lincoln Underground international haiku competition and a previous winner of the Haiku Foundation’s international haiku competition. His work has been published all over the world and his book of poetry and haiku Witness is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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Anna Cates


old farmhouse

wet snow falls

on the backs of pigs


sun-bleached cattle bones

a dung beetle burrows

in the midden


shady forests

swallowed whole by fire

one charred acorn


waning rose

an ant bears

my burden



from the first world

I am an alien


the sun

never losing its turn—

how sweat feeds rivers


Anna Cates resides in Ohio and teaches in an online M.F.A. in creative writing program.  A regular contributor to literary publications, her first full length collection of haiku and other poems, The Meaning of Life, is available at Amazon.com. Anna is also in the Living Haiku Anthology.

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Nick Carding




in the dark

it is night now
and will be
for some
long time
because a friend
has come
to live here
and I must learn
to see him
in this light
before the dawn
can be




Nick Carding is an Englishman now living in Croatia. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in print and online in Europe, USA and Australasia.

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Pat Tompkins

First Practice

Welcome to Beginning Meditation. After I explain a few basic principles, we’ll start with a three-minute meditation, a sort of trial run. By the end of the course, you’ll be making a 10-minute practice part of your daily routine.

Ten minutes? Doesn’t sound like much. I really need to relax. How can 10 minutes make a difference? If it sounds too good to be true. . . . At least I can say I tried.

Let’s begin. You’re trying to calm your monkey mind. Just close your eyes and sit comfortably. Focus on your breath. I’ll let you know when three minutes are up.

Three minutes is a pop song. This will be a cinch. Oh, right. We’ve started. Empty my mind. . . .Wait till Jan hears about this. . . . OK, my breath: in, out, in, out. What did the guy next to me eat? Garlic city. . . . Whew. I’m going to sneeze. No. In, out. Don’t forget to . . . let it go. Let it be. Now there was a song—more than three minutes, though. There will be an answer, let it. . . . Why is this so hard? In, out, my mind is blank. Blink. . . . Maybe there’s a book that would help. Ask the teacher. . . . In, out. In, out. In, out . . . three, I did three seconds. Don’t think. Just be. In, out. No wonder it’s called monkey mind. Let it GO. . . . Isn’t three minutes up yet? In, out. How can anyone do this for 10 whole minutes?

one fragrant, one carved
blossoms in the buddha’s hands
worn by the wind





Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in The A3 Review, Confingo, A Hundred Gourds, and other publications.

NB: This haibun was first published in Thema, 2014

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