• Poems

    Ave Jeanne Ventresca: SELF PORTAIT / reading between the lines

    Ave Jeanne Ventresca

    SELF PORTAIT / reading between the lines

    in the background, rainy day people
    walk through abundant sorrows. have
    learned how to balance through early
    morning wind, between thick cracks
    of concrete and kicked cans of red.
    feeling sad, heart in this noisy gutter,
    another life lost to a sharp blade
    in his back and
    friends that failed
    to understand. deciding not to report
    what he witnessed, was a decision
    he would live with, wear like a badge
    on his denim jacket. hoping others
    wouldn’t see. he attempts to read minds

    of others, empathize with threadbare children
    who are all alone. notice their shadows upon
    the shoreline, like a novel with corrupt
    antagonists, they shuffle across dusty roads.
    durable survivors, all of them. whose entrance
    and exist is of vital importance to read.


    Ave Jeanne Ventresca (aka: ave jeanne) is an American/Italian poet, who delves into social and environmental concerns across nine poetry chapbooks. With a notable editorial background, she edited Black Bear Review and served as publisher of Black Bear Publications (USA) for two decades. A poem  from her latest collection, Noticing The Color of Ordinary, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2019. Look for her poetry in lHRAM’s Literary Magazine.

  • Poems

    Arvilla Fee: The Ballad of Returning Soldiers

    Arvilla Fee

    The Ballad of Returning Soldiers

    If you look into my eyes
    you might see a shade of blue;
    I hope you notice in your hurry
    that I still shed tears too.

    Just because I’ve fought in wars
    doesn’t mean I’m granted grace;
    turns out when they send you home
    you can lose your safest space.

    Dead men often come a-knocking,
    pounding on the door of dreams;
    when I’m face-down on the hardwood,
    I can hear their fetid screams.

    I know you probably look at me,
    a grizzly man with cardboard sign
    and entertain a fleeting thought
    before I vanish from your mind.

    I truly cannot cast the blame,
    for I was once like you,
    things to do, things to see;
    the day was mine to choose.

    I guess the hardest part of all
    is knowing I’m still here
    while all others have forgotten
    as though I have disappeared.


    Arvilla Fee teaches English and is the managing editor for the San Antonio Review. She has published poetry, photography, and short stories in numerous presses, including Calliope, North of Oxford, Rat’s Ass Review, Mudlark, and many others. Her poetry books, The Human Side and This is Life, are available on Amazon. Arvilla loves writing, photography and traveling, and she never leaves home without a snack and water (just in case of an apocalypse). For Arvilla, writing produces the greatest joy when it connects us to each other. To learn more about her work, you can visit her website: https://soulpoetry7.com/

  • Poems

    Gil Hoy: You Wouldn’t Know

    Gil Hoy

    You Wouldn’t Know

    he was my father.

    I never knew him
    very well
    because he wasn’t around
    when I was born.

    You wouldn’t know
    he married my mother
    when she was just 16. That he
    took my sister to the park
    most Sunday mornings
    so my mother
    could sleep in.

    You wouldn’t know
    a lot about any of that.

    That he was passionate
    about lifting up the weak
    and the poor
    that he believed America
    is a great Country.

    You wouldn’t know
    much about any of that.

    You wouldn’t know
    that he began to question
    why we were there
    before he died

    that he forgave his enemy
    who planted the mine
    that blew off his leg
    on a faraway field.

    You wouldn’t know
    anything about any of that.

    I’ll never forgive
    those who sent him there,

    I can’t.

    I know his small, rectangular
    white marble marker
    because it bears his name.


    Gil Hoy is a Best of the Net nominated Tucson, Arizona poet and writer who studied fiction and poetry at The Writers Studio in Tucson, Arizona and at Boston University. Hoy previously received a B.A. in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. He finished in second place in the New England University Wrestling Championship while at BU at 177 lbs. Hoy is a semi-retired trial lawyer. His poetry and fiction have previously appeared in Right Hand Pointing, Third Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Chiron Review, One Sentence Poems, Rusty Truck, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Penmen Review, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Bewildering Stories, Literally Stories, The New Verse News and elsewhere.