Black Petals Issue #82 Winter, 2018

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Nowhere Friend-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Broken Image-Fiction by Andrew Newall
Monster-Fiction by Paloma Palacios
Salvation_Fiction by Scott Dixon, Featured Author
Scream-Fiction by Anthony ('Tony') Lukas
Surviving Montezuma-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist, Chapters 13 & 14
The Foundling-Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Girl Who Isn't Talked About-Fiction by James Gallagher
Beggar's Curse-Poem by Alexis Child
Marco-Three poems from Christopher Hivner
In Line at the Terminal-Four poems by Michael Keshigian
Ghost Poets-Four Poems by Jerry McGinley
Killer Clowns-Four Cryptid Poems by Richard Stevenson

Ghost Poets


Jerry McGinley


Gnarled branches of a giant dead ash tree,

like sprawling antlers of the Scythian stag,

cradle the soapstone moon in bony arms.


Charcoal clouds roil above the horizon,

and the silhouette of a sleeping crow

shades the lower left quadrant of the moon.


Naked nymphs frolic like young foxes,

reckless, na´ve, mischievous, and gay,

among gently swaying cattails and reeds.


Distant wood-fire smoke wafts hypnotically.

Golden carp rise rhythmically, sending jeweled

silver ripples across the surface of the pond.


Dry leaves rustle across the forest floor;

an electric chorus of cicadas chants to the beat

of the soft, languid cadence of lapping waves.


Ah, how surprising to meet you here,

Garcia Lorca, on this tranquil midnight stroll

along the mystical path of Ghost Poets.




Man in the Garden


Jerry McGinley


There’s a naked man lying in the garden.

It has been softly raining all morning.

A tall white lily grows from the man’s mouth.

A hummingbird hovers above the snowy flower.


There is green moss growing in his hair,

and clematis vines sprout from his beard.

His vacant eyes look like ping-pong balls

jammed fiercely into hollow sockets.


Small red worms ooze from his pores,

and an acrid stench of rotting cabbage

floats like the plague above the garden.

Heavy air hangs like a gray curtain.


A murder of crows perches in a pine tree.

They converse furtively in quiet caws.

They are waiting for something to happen.

The rain has nearly stopped falling.


The man’s chest faintly heaves up and

down in breaths nearly imperceptible.

The naked man is alive but unaware.

His name is Human Civilization.




Reflections on New Snow


Jerry McGinley


The full moon over fresh fallen blue snow

lights up the woods like late afternoon.

Nothing is moving in the haunting stillness.

Not even rabbits have pockmarked the snow.


Not a hoot from the Great Horned Owl,

perched in a slouched soldier oak tree,

not a whimper from gray-shadow coyotes.

I stand alone absorbing the grave silence.


There is a cemetery just east of this forest.

Sometimes I hike there late at night,

hoping to see a ghost or maybe a grave

robber filching gold from corpse teeth.


I should go there tonight, follow the frozen

creek bed downstream to Begley’s pasture,

then travel the fence line to the graveyard.

It wouldn’t take much more than an hour.


I knew a girl said she walked these woods

alone on peaceful snowy nights like this,

claimed she could talk to the owls and deer.

Neighbors said she wasn’t right in the head.


I liked that girl, but she died before she

turned twenty.  I wonder if her spirit still

wanders these woods. Maybe she could teach

me how to speak to the Great Horned Owl.




When You Can’t Find Me


Jerry McGinley


Some day when you can’t find me,

when I’ve been converted to ashes

or dust, ask the cardinals where I am.


They may know where I’ve relocated,

maybe in the grainy bark of a burr-oak,

or the glossy green leaves of English ivy.


If the skittish cardinals aren’t talking,

ask the squirrels. They keep close tabs

on these riotous woods and gardens.


Check out the essence of acorns,

or the seedy souls of milkweed pods.

I may be there, growing, ripening.


I could be hiding in the hostas,

or eating honeysuckle berries with

the robins; look for me there.


If the hunter moon is up, you will

never see me, hiding from the owl,

frozen in the shadows like a stone.


Today you saw a yellow swallowtail

lapping nectar on a purple coneflower.

I was there too. Did you feel me?


Jerry McGinley,, of Waunakee WI, who wrote BP #82’s 4-poem set, “Ghost Poets,” “Man in the Garden,” “Reflections on New Snow,” & “When You Can’t Find Me,” wants to invite poets and flash fiction authors to send material for possible publication on his blog, ; he writes poetry and fiction and is the founder of YAHARA PRAIRIE LIGHTS.  His most recent book is LAKE REDEMPTION.

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