Joe Bisicchia


Some of this is make believe.
Or at least, it starts that way,
as a faraway dream,
a dream of all that we can be.
So it is inside every me.

Life ain’t always easy.
In fact, it’s often quite stinky
Rhymes often fail at the line,
and the splendid sounds
often drift far out of bounds.

But, let this reality be—
win or lose,
now is now.

Let us feel the glory of purpose,
of worth,
of team.
This is far more than just sport.
Or, so it can seem.

Maybe it strikes deep at our core,
underneath our seams.
Maybe it’s love of life.
That pure.
Simple as life shared,
you and me.


I am speed.

I want
to run

as if all I could do
is make earth move,
and all of its breeze
be what I breathe
down the street
toward home.

Catch Daddy!

We see each other.
Ball bounces.

Busy world
hard to hold,
hard to let go.

Me to him,
him to me,
again and again.

Again and again,
him to me,
me to him.

Hard to let go,
hard to hold
busy world.

Ball bounces.
We see each other.

Monte Carlo

In the mirage,
in sun’s bending of street,
when the racing stripe

warps wrinkled
as clouds pass as do all images,
as all ephemeral messages,

as all invitations do to inspire us to
look through penetrable haze
on the way to the sun and beyond,

we shield our face,
see our way,
and race.

Of Regret

If only this.
If only that.
If only
no regret.

Our errors,
our mistakes,
mount the cold fact.

Game never stays still.
Such is life.
It goes as it will.
And we react.

It goes.
And we make.
We overcome.
And we make.

Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in The Poet’s Haven, Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit. Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. His website is and he is on Twitter @TheB_Line

John Grey


Pink sheets of pleasure
open like petals,
float across bare knees.

My head adrift in pillow,
yours warming my naked chest,
serenity keeps us in mind
for moments like this.

Love-making over,
I taste the wine of the results,
mouth the word “heaven”
to the lingering desire.

Can a moment be too iridescent?
Can it overtake, become the all-over mood?

I’ve heard that too much of a good thing
is as toxic as belladonna berries.
So if I grow too happy,
can sadness be my only cure?
If I have everything,
should I hold out for nothing?

They’d have me pray for an ache or two
to worry my smugness.
Or a lightning strike, an earthquake,
anything to singe or rumble
my contentment.

So have I need of disappointment, upset,
unwanted intrusion, disaster, grief, bitterness,
sickness, anger, disgrace, dementia or dread?
Quite frankly, no.
But thanks for never asking.



Her apartment doesn’t pull rank.
It’s on the ground floor
hut, from what I’ve seen of it,
it’s no bigger, no smaller,
than mine at the top of the stairs.

She always complains
that she has no one to help her
and the handymen she hires
to fix a leaking tap.
to patch dry wall,
charge prices near to extortion.
I’m always cleaning, she says.
And when I’m done,
it’s time to start over.

She’s always up when I come home,
no matter the time of night.
And she leaves her door open.
The doings of her tenants
are her only joy.

Her couch is where she collapses
at the end of another tiring day.
Her favorite programs
keep watch over her
as she eats whatever’s handy
from crackers and cheese
to frosting straight from the can.

on my way downstairs
I catch a glimpse of her
in the parlor, munching on potato chips.
the crumbs sticking to her robe like lint.

She sees me, says “this is the first chance
I’ve had to sit down all day.”
Her eyes are red, her moustache brown.
The blue glow of the television
unmasks her double chin.



You’re comfortable in those jeans,
faded blue, coffee stained,
ragged at the knees,
frayed at the ankles.

You figure you can get
another year out of them at least.

It’s different with men.
When the shininess wears off,
there’s nothing keeping you
from tossing them in the garbage.

Not that you’re delusional.
You follow the abrading, tattering,
of your face, your body,
in the mirror.

You wear the inevitable well
but how many more years
do you give it?

And those men,
picking themselves up out
of the breakfast scraps
and stumbling for the door…
how long before you whisper
that dreaded word, “Stay.”

But, for now, those jeans
make for a body-hugging denim comfort zone.
They slip over your knees, your hips.
And they don’t give you away.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Silkworm work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.



Silvia Marijuan

Bilingual hearts
In memory of Francisco X. Alarcónimage
From the East to the West
From the snow to the hills
where life becomes
a fairy tale
Your gentle eyes gave me peace
Your light kindled my voice
on a night when fatigue
rained down on me shamelessly
A scientist and a poet
laughing across the table
The wine is friendship,
Time, a burning sip
A few hours frozen in a marbled snapshot
Hoy descubro que has muerto
and I create images of dialogues that will never exist
I look closely at the desert behind your picture
and the arch of your subtle smile
the same smile you gave me on the night
when I felt most vulnerable
Bilingual hearts
You and I,
Chicano Orfeus
You would never have imagined
that you could tear a poem
from the heart of someone
who used to love them
No clogged spaces
No boundaries
Death has no wings
But love whispers
in all unimaginable languages

Silvia Marijuan

Silvia Marijuan is an applied linguist and an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, who enjoys connecting to language through both science and poetry. 



James Downs

Here are two poems that have similar subjects enough to be connected.


Speak it into being

I didn’t believe but
…….I spoke it into being

and ever infinitesimal
…….I became what I am

and that is what I was meant
…….to be

all this journeying time



long enough
and something will undo your certainty
the spectacular places
life itself

James Downs

John Grey


Some are big-boned, some are egret-thin.

For every tall one, there’s another squat and dumpy.

Most are brunettes, a few blondes, now and then, a red-head.

Many noses are up, many chins are down.

Some chatter constantly. Others remain silent.

Morose, happy, solitary, cringing to the crowd,

there’s many kinds, and then the subtle variances,

the loud one in a quiet moment,

the cold one who suddenly warms.

There’s a flood, then a trickle, then a flood again.

Sometimes there’s even none, but not for long.

What starts it? Who knows? But, from time to time,

I hear my voice cry out of nowhere, “Come, lie beside me. Stay.”



The dark wants your eyes.

Your pupils don’t know what’s coming.

The faces are about to go unrecognizable.

Better hone up your touch

because, soon enough, the light won’t do.

Sounds are taking on importance.

The TV is killing off your favorite characters.

The newspaper is telling you it’s all a blur.

Color schemes are the enemy now.

Your children are whispering behind your back.

The words “nursing home” pierce your still keen ears,

draw your blood, not theirs.

So what if you bump into the furniture.

If your eyes desert you,

then you’ll learn to see with your knees.

It’s getting late.

Your children need to get back to their lives,

to the plotting of their own offspring.

You look forward to sleep,

your life on equal terms.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.   



Watershed Event in Berkeley

Poetic Matrix Press will have a table at the coming Watershed event in Berkeley this Saturday Sept 26th and we invite all of you who will be in the area to stop by and say hello.  All of the proceeds from all book sales will be donated to Sandy Stillwell and Dennis who lost their home in the Valley fire. Sandy and Dennis and hundreds of others lost their home to this most destructive fire. Our heart is with them and so we make this small donation to assist in a small way.  Thankfully they are safe and have good friends and family around them.  Stop by and by a book.  Also Francisco X. Alarcon will be reading from his recent book Borderless Butterflies/Mariposa sin frontera at the event and so check him out.  It should be a good day all around.  -John

Katrina by Lyn Lifshin


If you have attended to the news lately you know this is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that so devastated New Orleans and the gulf region.  In 2010 our press had the opportunity to recognize Katrina’s 5th anniversary by publishing Lyn Lifshin’s book of thoughtful personal poems, Katrina, about the people caught up in this most difficult experience.  These poems are so indicative of Lyn’s direct, personal style.  Lyn writes without embellishments so that the lives of the people can be seen. She is a master at this kind of direct, immediate poetry.

Katrina by Lyn Lifshin is available at our distributor Small Press Distribution (SPD) To see more on Lyn’s book Katina and her recent book that our Press has published, Malala, about the courageous recipient of the 2014 Noble Peace Prize for her work go to our website

See some of the poetry from Katrina by Lyn Lifshin at our Forever Journal.

Lindsey Lewis Smithson


When I was a kid
I would go into my Dad’s
garage and tear apart
anything I could grab
I never wanted to know
how it worked
to destroy
to see the insides
bare on the table
to name each piece
see it’s function
The Ninja Turtles
The phone’s bell
The wheel in the VCR

The baby cries
on the changing table
my peach flesh fuzz
the sperm and egg
cocktail spun inside
and worked out through
my vagina
What are you really
beautiful creature
Stardust and sex
blue eyed product
Unsolvable puzzle


Columbia, Maryland

Green arms pulled down
blue sky blankets, drowned out
sunshine to help me sleep

Be calm here the gray sky
buildings whisper

you are nothing, nothing
in measure to what lived

follow this civil war bike path
to the mall where another
disaffected teen killed,
the Michael Kors store is having a sale

you are not one of us
the cul-de-sac knows it
wash away in the river
this path isn’t for you.

don’t fight sleep anymore



On Mountain St.
a white ambulance
holds his empty body.

The onlookers knew him
by sight. I thought I knew
him better.

Wind pulls my hair
as the ambulance passes.

The gravel road calls
out at each corner.


The Day After Billy Died

Remember the earthen stairs
wrapping around the redwoods—
misnamed the Trees of Mystery?

You’d never carved
our names into any other
trees with a kitchen knife.

That day no sounds, save our own,
had existed. Other imprints
were glossed over by rain.


Lindsey Lewis Smithson is the editor of Straight Forward Poetry. Sometimes she writes some stuff and sometimes some people like it. @lindseysmithson; @straight_poetry

MALALA by Lyn Lifshin

Excepts from MALALA by Lyn Lifshin published by Poetic Matrix Press

Pakistani Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for 2014 along with Indian child advocate Kailash Satyarthi.


Malala, still playing with dolls,
believed she could change the
world, cure cancer, live on the
moon, make a difference in
the world. Did she imagine that
some day those who
believe in violence could
share the same sky’s
beauty, that the light of
childhood could bring
a glow to darkness?



in the school yard
the last day before
school’s done
along the sun
drenched roads.
Again and again.
until next time
God willing. Then
helicopters and
guns turn the air to
dust, birds
explode up from
the flowers. Many
crash dead. Blood
and petals. A war
zone of flowers.
This hide and
seek goes on all
night. We are very
afraid. This, Malala
writes, is my life.


ON OCTOBER 9, 2012

a Taliban gunman shot Malala Yousafzai
as she rode home on a bus
after taking an exam in
Pakistan’s Swat Valley. “Which
of you is Malala? Speak up,
otherwise I’ll shoot you all.”
When he found out which
girl was Malala he shot her twice.
Once in the head and once
in the neck.



the pond is a dark blossom
unfolding. If she were to
move to the window in the
dream, there would be white
lilies thru blinds, suspended
instead of a moon.
Fog lips on roots
and willows filtering into
dreams of swans. The light
polishing water, connecting
what was behind her to
what’s ahead.

Melodic Rose


Lay the earth bare
Let every child resound
Let every voice
throw its weight
against the sky.

Let every lost soul
succumb to the day of reckoning
How the temperature rose
higher than the
oceans tide
How bodies
sound like symphonies
the night after a revolution.

How women sound
after they’ve been stripped
as bare as bones
and diametric art.

How women whisper
wistful luscious thoughts
Folded backwards,
mounting into greatness.
Flowing down into secret chambers
Ebbed on by the dissident sigh
of the ocean.

How night contains
frightful condemnation
How night became the onslaught
of the tangible.

A great divide
a wreckless diatribe
of retribution.

By Melodic Rose


Somewhere far away
there’s a planet
straddling the fault line
between our Galaxy and the distant one.
It’s name is eternity.

And on this planet
time stands
s t i l l.

It is where morning fades into day
and if you saw the sunset
you’d know that every heart beat
resounds against the sky,
like an anthem for love.

Because eternity is but a drop
and if you could feel its grandeur then
you would know
that life was never meant to be contained.

It was meant to be loud
and beautiful.
It was meant to be full of valleys
as well as hills.

If you ever happen to visit eternity
then I hope you’ll send a post card back for me.
Cut a piece out of all that wonder
Just so for once
I can say
that I’ve tasted heaven.
Seen myself echoed back through
that vast expanse.

If you ever happen to visit eternity
I hope you will take a piece
of all that stagnant time
and send it my way.

I am sure it will be rusted
from being dormant for so long
but I will hang it around my neck
to remind me,
that perhaps it is the only thing that matters.

That maybe we have all the beauty
we’ll ever need.
Maybe we are just seconds in the clock.
Powerful like every shooting star
filtrating the dusk.

And we needn’t journey anywhere
Because eternity was never meant to be a destination.
Perhaps… it is only us.

By: Melodic Rose

I am a performance poet from Montreal and I have been writing poetry for 15 years. I am passionate about using the written words to explore social and political issues pertaining to race, spirituality and navigating the complexities of being a woman in our society

Melodic Rose