Issue 1 October 2014


Editor's Comments

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Allegro Poetry Magazine!  The response from poets has been incredible and this time I've only been able to include 5% of the poems received. The poems that made it to issue one contain elements of surprise and some amazing imagery. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

Sally Long


A History of Green

That primordial mounting of lusty yellow
on the surround of blue, a leisurely mating

over the hours of light, peaking at noon,
waning by dusk, finally a fiery farewell.

Out of that:  Green.  Child of sun and sky,
green sank into the oceans drifting through kelp

and sea foam to reach land.  There, brash
as unripe youth with a penchant for beginnings

and greedy to spring into jungles of vines
and leaves in that lush primal garden, it ran

to excess over grass, cabbages, olives, grapes,
jalapeño peppers, limes, gooseberries, mint,

bay leaves, gages, peas,  pods, okra, endive,
lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, watercress, parsley,

artichokes, sage, prickly pears, spinach, cacti,
asparagus, string beans, cucumbers, water lily pads,

celery, moss, mimosa, and, of course, that apple.
Like spring sap it flowed over lichen, pond scum,

algae, orchids, iguanas, vipers, parrots, salamanders,
grasshoppers, frogs, jade, emeralds and malachite.

We find it in aged cheese, mold, gangrene, bile,
in sir names, eyes, statues of Buddha, absinthe,

a work permit, St. Patrick’s Day, motion sickness,
juleps, Christmas holiday trees, tea,  pickles,

pistachio ice cream, operating room scrubs, envy,
crème de menthe, turtle soup,  camouflage

clothing, luna moths, tomalley in female lobsters,
a perfume scent, uncured tobacco, unseasoned

lumber, decay, coke bottles, unripe fruit,
a term for inexperience, a hero in a comic strip,

Oz City, fake gold, fertile thumbs, and beetles, always
with us, even in winter’s starkest white: evergreens.

 Sarah Brown Weitzman

Hill Village 
      For Jane and Jace Morgan

All is still as we remember it,
the plane trees lit from beneath
to a glow of lime and lemon,
someone’s daughter at a window
combing her wet hair, the old ones
grounded in shadow, bending
to their disciplines of concentration,
the thump and click of silver balls
biting the dust, a ritual
and communal observance
in this warm enclosure, swallows
threading the campanile’s eye
with its great bell silenced
as they skitter through.

In a corner of the square
a teenage congregation clamours
around its hooded perspex booth
where beauty turns from the phone
to watch a simmering admirer
buck the bronco of his bike,
while on a dry stone wall
beside the cemetery gate
two lovers passing through
have helped each other up,
removed their back-packs,
and before the sun goes down
          are gathering all of this
          to fill their postcards home.

John Mole

Extended Possibilities

Poetry is delicate
spring songs
in the mouths of planters sowing
endeared seeds on harsh earth.
Poetry is fresh blood
irrigating shriveled arteries
so hearts can cease to hibernate passion.
Poetry is a handkerchief
absorbing grief
that seeps into
despaired souls
and garner dismembered dreams.
Poetry is vibrant
plays the drum
transpires in a vodou dance
performs riffs of jazz
reminding us of Blakey
Miles and
Duke scaling on the A train.
Poetry drives minds
at cliff’s edge
cures blues
sings the blues
Betty Blue.
Poetry is a world
of water
inkslingers swim in
meter after meter
stroking waves
riding tides
fishing for fresh metaphors.
Poetry is a field
of crested cockscomb
teasing the eye.  

Patrick Sylvain 

Nothing Ventured 

Within me
is the strength
to climb over
and swing
like a jumbo 
Jungle Jim
from branch
to branch
in order to steal
Tarzan's Jane
and take her
to meet my big buddy
King Kong
and swing dance
with Big Foot
then take a dip
in the Blue Lagoon
and have a beer fest
with Lock Ness 
run with the bulls
talk bull 
with bullfighters 
followed by a
walk on the plank
over a tank of
oversized piranha 
known as sharks
but my bite
is not my bark
so I just stutter
in front of you
with the mumble
of a bad method 
then stumble 
on my way

Ivan Jenson

Kind Escape

Once, a child, under
the spring's thriving sun,
lead by the glory of intricate imagination,
shadowed only by other children's push and talk.
The way was clear, the valley below was soaked
with debris. I never touched
the briars of age as the birds carved
out my language. It was long ago
but I have not left those unreal adventures,
only now with adult-mind and adult-longing
they still ease my dread. When the cathedral
is closed and the enemy has entered my blood,
I slide into their colourful weather
and wait for the day to be renewed.

Allison Grayhurst


Before ferris-wheels were obsolete
and telephones got decommissioned,
I remember cobblestone streets
and Clydesdale-drawn beer carts.
The gaslights flattered faces
and absinthe softened voices;
tobacco resin mottled windows
and dumbwaiters rattled attics.
The moon was slightly closer then
(at least that’s what the mermaids claim).

Before flower-sellers filed for bankruptcy
and anarchists bombed the paddleboats,
I remember secret groves of apple trees
and swimming holes with inner tubes.
Trollies rang the children from the church
and ice-cream cones cost a cent apiece;
radiators sputtered in thunderstorms
and graveyard statues were undefaced.
The stars would shine in the daytime
(at least that’s what the mermaids say).

Before the King’s English was defunct
and passenger pigeons became extinct,
I remember the Emperor Waltz
and stereopticon cards of the Sphinx.
General Tom Thumb met the Queen of England
and Samuel Clemens invented Mark Twain;
condemned men got a last cigarette
and virtuous women never uttered regrets.
Gravity was lighter and the sunshine was brighter
(at least that’s what the mermaids would have us believe).

Craig Kurtz

as I discovered poet Gwendolyn Brooks

you seem so assured
your words wrap themselves
around one another like
maniacal twisters

your face roars,
your point of view,
marshals flocks of birds,
dams prodigious rivers,
emboldens the sun and moon

I never saw you walk,
never heard you talk
it’s enough
to read your saw-tooth words,
to absorb you,
to be exhilarated by you,
to discover
you left your light behind

Keith Nunes


Fall in love with someone
From another culture.
Be swept off your feet and let this
Fascination transform you.
Do not treat the other
As other. Do not judge in haste.
Begin to understand, perhaps even
Become the other.
Speak their language. Learn
The names of their rivers, dance
To their festivals and music,
Dress like them, discover their food,
Tattoo them on your skin.
Be vulnerable. Let the other
Ravage you, give them the power
To destroy you. Open yourself
To translation. In that living shattering
evolving heartbreaking accepting space
lies creativity.

Shruti Sareen

Creed for a Newer, Better Religion

Bless the maggots,
those patron saints
of transfiguration.

Through them
our conversion
to particles is inevitable
always has been
and always will be.

Through them
all flesh becomes
truly catholic.

Praise worms
with their transubstantiation
of all bodies and blood to earth.
May they decompose
every bit that we are.

We shall submit
to this and nothing more.

Through decay and putrefaction
may we continue to fruit and multiple
in and from the earth.
May you fertilize a thousand fields,
be part of a river bed
become the milk
sucked by the newborn.

Flow, flow, flow
into this world.

Holy bacteria, divine carrion eaters,
release us and continue to turn the true wheel.

We shall dance with light feet.  
Happy, happier, happiest
in this indisputable truth.

William Lennertz


the snow, fallen
the morning, bright

show your face
bare your eyes

today is ours

what we hadn't known
tomorrow would be

it came for us to live
so let's be dressed

i play a fast record
dance by the bedside

you are laughing
and are with me

my joy is now

J. Blake Gordon

Those Boulders!

A big black bumblebee with yellow stripes
sizzles past my ear and then cavorts,
playing peekaboo in thick ice plant.

Surfers at Lovers Point paddle
to hook haymakers out beyond where
waves cascade over rough rocks.

Cypress getting old: many dead branches.
Its knotty twisted limbs coated with
dank moss, beneath a verdant canopy.

Across the bay power plant stacks
tower. The whole crescent coast
cloaked in a thin tan haze.

Seagulls’ web feet make explicit
impressions in wet sand. Oh how water
foams as it pummels those boulders!

Thomas Piekarski

Poem for Dummies

You have to 
structure your day
have a routine 
be set in your ways
keep everything 
in order
stack that which 
should be stacked
and pack that
which should be
file your feelings
and your fingernails
flex your muscles
and your options
tack tacky affirmations,
and slogans
on your refrigerator
do what is on
your to do list
and when you
have done 
what has to 
be done
be done with it
already and 
snuggle up 
with a dog, book
or lover 
and remember
never to watch
the evening news
rest assured that
Rome is burning
so pick up your
and play a little
hey diddle diddle

Ivan Jenson


New wrens
have moved

into the old
wren house

and it is fine
with me that

they sing
the identical

old wren song.
It is comforting,

one more small
eternity more.

J.R. Solonche

Pessimist’s Utopia

It began with my shoelaces
breaking in the morning;
then the clock went stop
insuring I’d be late;
of course, without an umbrella
it monsooned every injured step;
& this is how I found my way
to the pessimist’s utopia.

Then I had long lines to find
the noonday train got left behind;
there were many forms to sign
to let me know roadblocks exist;
but the best part was the fine print in full
claiming the swindle was authorized by me;
& this is how I found the door
to hell on earth, or something worse.

The cellphone’s dead,
the dinner’s cold,
my socks are wet,
the checks all bounce;
the lights won’t start,
the record skips,
it’s Shangri-La
for masochists (& bureaucrats).

The buzzing sound that I ignored
soon provoked a gas leak smell;
when I thought that I arrived
I saw my keys were locked inside;
the moment that my chance came near
the staples jammed, the crock pot cracked;
then I knew I’d rest in peace, in this
utopia for pessimists.

Craig Kurtz

First Light

Emergency managers did as they said they’d do
when hard night cracked to first light. 

They left gymnasium shelters 
that smelled of burned coffee
to assess damage.

Trees cracked. 
Streets turned creek. 
Homes can-opened topless.
Trailers blown over and boats too.
Dead mounting in countdowns.
They turned on the subways
and unrolled blue tarps.  

The weight of dawn on her eyelids
renewed the infant’s belly hunger
curled in a crib below plywood.
She cried and kicked 
at softnesses. 

The warblers tried muted ululations.
The crows belly-ached. 

Cars crawled into a limb-studded 
freeway, blind man’s beads poked 
on a humming string. 

Dreamers twitched away
vestibules of eroded,
swaying rafters.

The cat in the window seat stretched
as if nothing much had happened. 

Tricia Knoll

Kennewick Man

We will never be certain if his wound was by accident or intent, what language he spoke, or his religious beliefs.  We cannot know if he is truly anyone's ancestor.  Given the millennia since he lived, he may be sire to none or all of us.  

James C. Chatters 

A skull dug out of the soft mud
of Columbia riverbank,

the size of a modern man
transfigured by his own history.

Nine thousand years a blank slate,
stretched like skin to the face.

The lull in political activities
suggests an end to history.

Dislodged from a muddy embrace
of postcolonial culture,

would a skull by any other name
smell as sweet?

The river’s dance dresses and
undresses; the hosts and ghosts

say it is time for a burial.
But science wants a bit more.

Traces to family form
like the arthritis in his knee,

like the spear point in his thigh.
The causes of life’s mysteries

have not changed. His blood is red,
a mark of migrations.

But these are the flaws
we find in everyone.

George Moore

Return from City Airport

Those moments of time when nothing happens
but a daughter and baby
safely delivered

And the early sun
polishes the Thames barrier
and gilds the spokes of the Dome

And time is as still
as the waters of Pontoon Dock
or the cranes of City Island

Glass walls and grey scales
mount the sky,
frail as ideas            

Tiny bubble cars float the wires,
crossing the river
to the next millennium

Simon Bowden 

Red Umbrella

two figures emerge
shrouded in misty haze
strolling the boulevard
huddled as one
entwined in the embrace
of gossamer dreams
drifting beneath the  canopy
of a red umbrella
dissolving as silhouettes
into the gray timbre
of late afternoon haze
with secrets only they can share
suspended in transcendent moments
echoing in footfalls
on a sodden satin way
unfolding before them

David Sermersheim

What the First Responders Never Got to Report

How the air burned their eyes as they climbed
How frightened were the people they passed going the other way
How by the forty-third floor they could smell burning fuel
How they began to hear muffled screams
How hot the staircase walls became
How their radios blared the news of a second strike
How the stairs trembled under their feet
How they kept on climbing
How the explosion made them deaf
How the floor beneath them was no longer there

Sarah Brown Weitzman

Upon this Rock

The Reverend Igneous Rock—
his broad features sweat-lit,
dark as volcanic glass—
thunders into the pulpit
like Black Moses,
his vast silk vest
rippling with certitude,
cufflinks flashing like indignant stars.
High in the choir loft
organ chords insistent as Armageddon
punctuate the rumbling syllables
of his prayer; the very roof beams
creak their loud amens.
Oh, let the sisters
in tight dresses
dance in the varnished aisle,
fluttering tambourines!
Let the old aunts
with their paper fans
swoon and chatter in tongues!
Let the tall silent ushers
throw wide the doors
that sunlight itself may bow
before a greater glory,
the rafters be thronged with hymns,
every note an angel spreading
trembling bright wings of sound!

Robert Lavett Smith

from At The Musarium (24)

[16901 – 17000]

In Transylvania, Thetis & her
enigmatic paramour radiate
affably after croquet, her cogent
psychologist dutifully quiescent.
Well-fed operatives dote while her cronies
blindfold him with a visor emblazoned
with amethyst.  Purposeless oddity,
a leaky tankard—all marmalade &
self-defense, until the debut!  Thunderbolts
encircle a convocation of tickling,
sullied for its whitewash of non-existent
rancor & uproarious tarts who patronize
a formulae for sirup & paraffin—
apotheosis hankering to embellish.

Peter J. Grieco

Negative Space

I remember us wrangling
over what, I don't recall
but I can still see
the silhouette
of the rubber plant
against the wall
and thinking that a shadow
was not a presence at all
but merely the absence
of light;
the shapes
where it fails to fall.

Colette Bernhardt


Colette Bernhardt is a freelance journalist who thinks poetry should get more press. Her favourite poets include Ros Barber, Kate Tempest, Ted Hughes and Tony Harrison. Her poem on the back of a postcard, ‘A Tiny Heap of Bones’, was shortlisted for Myriad Editions' Picture This award in 2011.

Simon Bowden is a retired BBC journalist. He has published a book of poems by the late Mary Skinner and is active in writers’ groups in the St Albans area, winning occasional prizes for poems and short stories.  He is press officer of Ver Poets and runs their workshops.

Sarah Brown Weitzman, a Pushcart nominee, has been widely published in numerous journals such as America, Art Times, The North American Review, Rattle, The Mid-American Review, The Windless Orchard, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Poet & Critic, etc.  Sarah received a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her latest book, a departure from poetry is a children’s novel, Herman and the Ice Witch, published by Main Street Rag.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 400 poems published in international journals and anthologies. She has eleven published books of poetry and four collections, as well as six chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay;

J. Blake Gordon lives in Chicago with a mean cat, an anxious dog, and a beautiful woman. He collects records, writes poems, and drives a ten-year-old Accord. He has a job, but it's not interesting, so let's talk about something else.

Peter J. Grieco lives in Buffalo, NY and teaches writing at Niagara University.  In addition to poetry he is interested in song writing and speaking French.  His Musarium series of semi-procedural verse is based on word frequency lists.

Ivan Jenson is a fine artist, novelist and contemporary poet. Jenson's poetry is widely published (with over 450 poems published in the US, UK and Europe) in a variety of literary media. A book of Ivan Jenson's poetry was recently published by Hen House Press titled Media Child and Other Poems.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon (US) poet. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals. Her chapbook Urban Wild is now out from Finishing Line Press.

Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work has appeared in Aji,Bird’s Thumb, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Blotterature, Brev Spread, Leaves of Ink, Literati Quarterly, Indigo Rising, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Recusant, Teeth Dreams, Tower Journal and Veil.

Robert Lavett Smith was raised in New Jersey but has lived since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past fifteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has studied with Charles Simic and Galway Kinnell. He is the author of several chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is Smoke In Cold Weather: A Gathering of Sonnets (Full Court Press, 2013).  A new collection, The Widower Considers Candles, will be forthcoming from the same press in 2015.

William Lennertz is an artist. He writes and paints as much as possible. His poetry collection, 70's Bush and 19 other poems, is available on Amazon. To see his visual art, visit

John Mole is resident poet for Poet in the City ( ) and his most recent collections are The Point of Loss ( Enitharmon ) and Treatment ( Shoestring ).  He can be heard reading on The Poetry Archive ( ) from which a CD of his work is available.

George Moore’s poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, Antigonish, Blast, Orion, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Hermits of Dingle (FutureCycle Press, 2013), and he has another, Children's Drawings of the Universe, scheduled for publication with Salmon Poetry Press later this year. A long-time instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he now lives on the southern coast of Nova Scotia.

Keith Nunes lives in rural Bay of Plenty (New Zealand) with a retinue of crackpots. His obtuse and melodramatic poems have been published widely Down Under. He’s a former newspaper sub-editor but has been granted divine forgiveness.

Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His poetry and interviews have appeared in Nimrod, Portland Review, Kestrel, Cream City Review, Poetry Salzburg, Boston Poetry Magazine, Gertrude, The Bacon Review, and many others.  He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.

Shruti Sareen is currently pursuing a PhD on twenty first century feminist poetry and is also teaching in one of the colleges in the University of Dehli. She has had poetry accepted by The Little Magazine, Muse India, Reading Hour, The Seven Sisters Post, North East Review, The Chay Magazine, Ultra Violet, Kritya, Brown Critique, Earthen Lamp Journal, E-Fiction India, Thumb Print Magazine and others. She blogs at

David Sermersheim is a retired teacher, living in the U. S. A. He has taught for forty years -- 33 years at The Hotchkiss School, a private boarding school. He lives in southern Connecticut, where he observes what moves around him.

J.R. Solonche, four-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is co-author of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books).

Patrick Sylvain is a poet, writer, translator, and a faculty member at Brown University’s Center for Language Studies. He is published in several anthologies, academic journals, books, magazines and reviews including: Agni, Callaloo, Caribbean writers, Ploughshares, SX Salon, Haiti Noir,Human Architecture: A Sociology Journal, Poets for Haiti, The Best of Beacon Press, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Recently featured in:PBS NewsHour, NPR's «Here and Now» and «The Story». Sylvain received an ED.M from Harvard University Graduate School of Education; and earned his MFA from Boston University Creative Writing Department where he was a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow.