ubterranean Blue Poetry
Volume II Issue IV

The Cover Photo/Art:

by Dean Moriarty

“o’ Venus and the moon

love is what you get used to

my unbroken spoon

the sun in my eyes

(come inside)

descent under glass

ocean stones

odd Miguel de costa

on the edge of silence

in the cold of night

who would

make the angels cry?”

Subterranean Blue Poetry
Volume II Issue IV
(May 2014)

Subterranean Blue Poetry

© 2014


by Holly Guran

i. Monteverde Vecchio

The children sat at wooden desks
learning Virgin Mary and Mama,
memorizing tre geranni alla finestra.
Red geraniums bloomed on our steps.

Their backpacks held notebooks and ink pens
to open our daily struggle
writing cursive in a language
we barely understood.

The boys’ antics disturbing sleepy siesta
branded them naughty americani—was it
for shooting peas through reeds
when they snuck to the rooftop?

One vendor in the market would whine
fighi, fighi, almost obscenely. I’d
look the other way, pass his
luscious display quickly.

Oh, the small apartment,
the single gas burner
allowing me to cook pasta
for my three young children.

A mile beyond, art was something grand,
the fellows carefully chosen
for the Academy on the hill—
their meals laid out, their studios cleaned by servants.

I was below, permitted
to bring the bambini for lunch on Sunday.
Mornings I’d awake to Lelo’s grating stall,
then his voice bellowing the day’s vegetables.

Afternoons we wives sat in the park
across from the Academy entrance.
The children played. We’d gossip,
maybe crochet.

The trees held pignoli.
I’ve lost track
of every one of those women
I sat with for hours

hearing about the one
whose Italian doctor
sewed her stitches too tight
after the child was born.

ii. The Janiculum

Summer heat rises off the pavement
with the smell of Rome,
a memory of vines over railings,

beauty the currency
of each vendor’s fruits,
the currency of all labor.

Even the footpath to Trastevere’s
cinema, seductive. Leaving
Midnight Cowboy we entered

a fantasy of lit cafes,
people posing,
the ochre fronts of buildings.

Each day’s parade after siesta
cut a bella figura--to be admired, take
pride in what the body offered.

My body clothed to please
his discerning eye,
not comprehending

what was already a bus rushing
down the steep Janiculum,
Far to the east, Turkey

where he had traveled with his lover.
How humiliating to have the others
know before I did.

He snapped me in the sailor outfit,
hair flying. I stood on the balcony
at Villa Doria Pamphili.

iii. Leaving Rome, Again

At first the plane’s engine sang softly,
ci vediamo, ci vediamo dopo,
but when would we return?

Fiumincino’s beaches and stucco homes
had already flown under the clouds,
and the engine’s hum had grown loud

no longer singing its farewell song,
familiar song from a very long
time ago from this familiar

place whose tongue begins again
to sound meaning in my ear.

let the r’s curl my hair
let the raucous voices
enter my silence

I take with me this time
an Eden of sorts, a garden holding
lizards and ripe persimmons.

Each life deserves its place.
Didn’t we just marvel at the palms
and peacocks in Villa Sciarra?

We saw where my family had lived,
the small yard now cloistered tightly
as if keeping me from that time

though, of course, the place sounds its echoes—
at the open market, one vendor
hawking gnocci every Thursday—

quiet now this rainy siesta,
buried within the soil of the past
and its clatter.

Let me be a part of the morning crowd
buying cappucino at the bar—
my name called by the owner.

Featured Poet: Pablo Neruda

One Hundred Love Sonnets XVII

by Pablo Neruda

“I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,

or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:

I love you as one loves certain obscure things,

secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries

the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,

and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose

from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,

I love you directly without problems or pride:

I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,

except in this form in which I am not nor are you,

so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,

so close that your eyes close with my dreams.”

Missed Connections

Craigslist Montreal – Free Section – November 5th, 2013 - Martin

Free stuff (montreal)

I have a one year old GE fridge stove, washer and dryer that I would like to give away.
I feel its my duty to give back after some of the crappy things I've done
Contact me for photos and delivery.


Location: montreal

Book Reviews

The Inspired Heart Edition 3, the beauty of women in poetry.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: The Inspired Heart Edition 3

Author(s): Emily Bilman, Mahasty Eslahy, Kay Kinghammer, Rebecca Anne Banks, Dana Chambers, Patricia Ross, Gina Nemo, gillian harding-russell, Wilika Asimont, Meghan Fillier, Andrea Perry, Ruth Morris, Holly Irvine, Olivia Raco, Caroline H. Davidson, Alyssa Cooper, Katherine L. Gordon, Michelle McTague, Nicole Tafoya, Natalie Dixon, Carl Leggo, David Hobberlin, Lee-Ann Taras, Robert Gibbons, Damon D. Dukes, Louisa Howerow, Michael Hurley, Rikki Bell, Dr. Shruti Das, Terri Taylor Weiner, Sheila Horne, Kelsey O'Toole, K.V. Skene, Riley Morrison, Ishmael Street, Lololi Speaks, Emily Amon, James Cockcroft, Sherry Hicks

Publisher: MCI Writers House

Date of Publication: 2014

Page Count: 238

This is the third edition of The Inspired Heart by MCI Writers House, a new Canadian publishing house that mentors and publishes with special attention to the passions of life and helping authors dreams come true. The Inspired Heart Edition 3 is an anthology of postmodern Poets with the theme of the beauty of women. The anthology is a celebration featuring international Poets in all stages of their writing careers and from both men and women Poets. The editor’s note on the back of the book:

“If on the journey through this book you feel impelled to cry, do so, if you feel impelled to scream, do so, if you feel impelled to love, do so, and if you feel the need to change things, please do so. Each writer will ask you to call upon the very fibers of our humanness as a reflection of each other.”

When This Writer picks up the book I am first struck by its very large size, not unlike a very large picture book and then the beautiful stylized pink bird on the cover. Everything says candy. As I go to open the book, in the background plays “she comes in colours everywhere” “like a rainbow” by the Rolling Stones.

The theme of the beauty of women is celebrated in a myriad of themes that include family, mothers, sisters, love, love lost, love celebrated, scars, journey, old age, teenage years, body image, issues of beauty and health and underwritten in the background, the violence of the war diaspora Western World.

I liked The Persian Song by David Hobberlin, he is a studied Poet and has been writing for over 50 years and this poem was influenced by an ancient book of Persian poetry from his grandfather. This is one of a series of verses:

“What yellow sun does this pallid moon behold?

Is it a reflection from the eternal home of verse?

Or can it be greater riches to fill the vacant purse

Than all of Bokhara’s vaunted gold?”

It is a traditional lovesong and creates mythologies with beautiful imagery.

K.V. Skene has been internationally published and there is a selection of poetry, particularly noteworthy is Old Women, This is Not a Poem (for Valerie Spurr 1927-1997) and For Those Who Still Live Where Lilacs Bloom:

“who inhale her sweet secrets whenever they encounter
green gardens under a perfect blue,
gather armfuls of a honeyed childhood
under billowing purple.

For those who seem to drift a little behind their lives,
one hand trailing in the water,
who see spiders bridge the river’s pilings, hear
the soft ping of moths on ozone-scented air.

For those who overtook May’s blatant fields of rape,
follow highways bloated with fly-eaten fox, back-broken deer,
scavenging crow,
to reach St. Andrew’s and her funeral.

For all the pain she embraced, for the children she left bereft,
for those who forgot
and for those who remembered to tell the bees
and bring her lilacs.”

These poems are in the postmodern school, without a rhyme scheme and varied punctuation and capitalization, yet with a certain intrinsic rhythm.

Only Skin Deep by Ruth Morris tells of scars:

“I lay on my back in bed and trace the scar on my belly
long and wide from navel to pelvis
tiny imprints crisscrossed like tiny fairy footprints
that’s where they removed the stitches

I place a fingertip on each new scar and press them into place
they are in a lopsided circle surrounding the long narrow highway
I can feel the scar tissue underneath hard and unyielding

I go to the mirror
wearing only the skin God gave me
I look at my reflection
scarred and broken
I try not to stare

I once heard that scars are the road map to the soul
I have been many places
My soul is mapped on the outside and well as in
For who can see the scars that dwell inside me?”

It is poetic prose narrative, illuminating the condition of the physical, questioning traditional ideas of beauty.

The styles of poetry are exciting and diverse, including Beat Poetry, postmodern, narratives and poetic prose. I am particularly fond of storytelling in poetry, as if glimpsing into the secret lives of other women, their fears, their battles, their successes and there are some really good examples of stories of the lives of women and family, mothers, sisters, being in high school, old age, health issues in The Inspired Heart Edition 3.

Holly Irvine pens Testosterone a story about how both she and her friend have broken up with their boyfriends and the friend plays at seducing her. Emily Amon writes The Widow, a story of an old woman in winter and Mother and Child a story of a mother in Africa who has no milk to give her child. Mama Helen by Caroline H. Davidson tells the story of her favourite aunt and growing old. Terri Taylor Weiner tells a difficult end of life story about her mother in Apron Strings and a sad story about her sister and difficult relationships in No Thanks. A humorous story about life in highschool is penned by Sheila Horne in I Want to Be A Cindy Lou:

“My goal was to be a Cindy Lou. That’s what we called the popular girls. They were beautiful, had perfect lives and were destined to succeed. I wanted to be one of them.”

Michael Hurley writes about the beauty industry, anorexia and psychiatry.
In AnorHEXia: Exhibit A:

“Under no enchantment
but mine own
& my own starving society,
both of us hoodwinked
by the Beauty Industry,
crossing the thin line
between real & unreal,
wasting away under a spell
a hex that is the dark water
we swim in
& drown
until we wake up …
Can what the White Coats say
be true?
Is this what they were saying?”

And Damon D. Dukes writes about autism and champions those who have it.
Stay Strong:

“I just want to see your smile

no matter what this culture labels you

just know you are God’s child

smile for me love don’t be so blue,”

Other great reads in the anthology are “And Now?” by James Cockcroft, Robert Gibbons, Louisa Howerow, Olivia Raco, Alyssa Cooper, Gina Nemo, Dr. Shruti Das, Emily Bilman, Mahasty Eslahy, Kay Kinghammer, Rebecca Anne Banks. At the end of the volume of poetry is an article titled “The Power of Healing from a Bad Relationship”, with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. at the beginning and some uplifting advice for those who have been in broken relationships.

The Inspired Heart, Edition 3, the beauty of women in poetry, a feast of offerings from MCI Writers House.

Available at MCI Writers House and at Amazon.ca.


Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman a study in dark mythologies.

Byline: Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman: And Other SteamPunk Poems

Author: Halli Lilburn

Publisher: CreateSpace

Date of Publication: 2013

Page Count: 36

“The Brothers Grimm ain’t got nuthin’ on this, come and dis’” An art nouveau, New Age style punk poetry with pagan images Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman creates dark mythologies. This Chapbook of poetry is written by Halli Liliburn, an artist, librarian and mother from Alberta, Canada. She has poetry published in journals (Poetry Quarterly, Seeding the Snow, Red Fez amongst others) and has published short stories with Leap Books and Tesseracts and a novel, Shifters with Imajin Books.

Borrowing from old world forms, the poetry is narrative poetic prose and reads not unlike dark fairytales with inconclusive, surprise or dark endings. The work is well written, it flows in occasional rhyme and with rhythm, exciting new word synergies that play against the quiet of the night. Pagan images of the past recreate themselves within the New Age influences of steampunk and the legacies of Generation X and Y, those born after the ‘60’s children with all the issues of New World angst.

The Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman is the story of a mystical Muse woman who is captured in the nets of a sailing ship. The captain takes away her cloak and tortures her in his cabin. Eventually, the crew shanghai the captain and tie him to the yardarm,

“The creature piles herself against the port border
Defensive, untamed and tortured.
We take an axe to the Captain’s coffer
While her slanted eyes speak with no words.

Slowly, the cloak in raised from the splinters And sea lion woman bounds into action With hiss and fury she bolts fast and under Grabs through our midst and finds her salvation.

With haste she flies for the gang plank, shaking And airborne she twists in mid stride To wrap her fur and fuse to its making Molding into one creation before she hits the tide.

The horror shocks us to the core Hands are made flippers, feet are made tail The beast of the sea is woman no more. She is gone and onward we sail.”

As if breathing in the violence of the New World, dark themes weave through the 15 poems, with titles of Take Heed, Lonely Automaton, Astigmatism, Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman, Ticki ticki tembo no sarembo …, Recycled with Love, Lineascope, The Grimm Fable, Clockwork, Gatsby and more. Images of death, the vagaries of love, a tortured mystic woman, a time machine, the laboratory, ocean voyages, the earth, the huntsman and the princess, and time all fall into new realms of now, and sometimes dark humor.

In Recycled with love:

“1. I like skulls. I’m not goth or psycho. I’m not a forensic anthropologist, or Hamlet. I like skulls because they have empty eyes, empty mouths, empty brains. No sight, no voice, no thoughts. I like skulls because they are harmless.

2. Grave. Make way, the dead are waiting. Your plot of soil has done a rotten job. You must cough up your supper, empty your bowels, give back the dissolution. Bones are fertilizer. Skulls are for the mantel piece. Yawning tomb with hunger pains like a puking drunk asking for another shot. Feed Me!

3. Hollow eyes look your last. These rotting wrappings flutter in oxygen rich wind. Your well preserved, juiceless, corpse born up to the afterlife, awaiting the thousand year resurrection. Well I am your God now. I will resurrect you crushed in my garden, as a succulent, juicy tomato.”

Also, there is a certain Zen aesthetic, almost Asian mystique within the horror and bonespeak.

In Astigmatism:

“There is an orange lantern hanging from a tree branch.
I blink and it is gone.
The ghost in my closet flies out.
I blink and it is gone.
Party streamers fall from the ceiling, twisting as they flutter.
Unravelling nerves
The sunset pulsing like heart beat dreams
Sinking into black nightmares.
I blink and it is gone.
Free electricity striking blindly
Attracted to my peripheral vision.
My eyes!
Illuminate every drop of water
In a street lamp rain.
My focal point confused, vision blurred
I want to see clearly!
To brush aside the crawling spiders and glowing hallows;
The fears and distractions
I blink and they are gone.”

A surprising take on the old world fairytale form, the undertoad of the New Age in narrative poetic prose, Ballad of the Sea Lion Woman: And Other SteamPunk Poems by Halli Lilburn.

Available at Amazon.ca.



Rebecca Anne Banks

you rang Simon Chang?

my usual take on Monday but its Saturday

the white ‘hood society

the care of litmus

lap dope chung

chain suey

dirt and bike ram sky

the underraft of rolf

caught and cooper

alli, alli penephron

some watched garment

the velvet tea house

an excuse to wear black forever

as angels fall to earth


Rebecca Anne Banks is at home in Montreal. She is the CEO/Artist of Tea at Tympani Lane Records
( www.tympanilanerecords.com) and The Book Reviewer ( www.thebookreviewer.ca).

Holly Guran, chapbook author of River Tracks (Poets Corner Press) and Mothers Trails (Noctiluca Press), earned a Massachusetts Cultural Council award (2012), and is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets. River Full of Bones, a full-length collection, will be published by Iris Press. Recent publications include Soundings, Westchester Review, Muddy River, Beatdom, U.S. Worksheets 1, Salamander, Orange Coast Review, Em-Dash, and The Inflectionist.

Halli Lilburn was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Her work has been published in various journals such as Poetry Quarterly, Grey Sparrow, Red Fez, Seeding the Snow, Canada's History Magazine and many others. She has a full length YA novel published with Imajin Books and other short stories with Leap Books and Tesseracts. Halli is an artist, librarian and mother of three. You can find out more about her at hallililburn.blogspot.com.

Dean Moriarty. Born in Plymouth in the 50s. Spent first 20 years in Cornwall then moved to Wales and have been there mostly since. I have been traveling the world the last 4 years and taking photos and writing books of which I have 40 on kindle and 20 on amazon. Am writing every day one or more articles in between being homeless and broke and living in hostels and trying to find money to live. Was given some money just recently that is enough to get me to Asia for two months then back for May to maybe sleep in park. Really don't know what will happen but I try to keep on writing, even though I had to sell lap top and camera and all else.

Pablo Neruda was born in Chile, his original name being Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Bascalto Reyes. He is a Poet/Writer/Politician/Diplomat and Philosopher, serving in the Chilean diplomatic service and as a politician. His first wife is Maryka Hagenaar who gave him a daughter and his second wife is Delia del Carril. Upon meeting and perhaps taking as mistress Matilde Urritia he wrote One Hundred Sonnets of Love. He is best known for Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Memoirs, The Book of Questions, Passions and Impressions, Captain’s Verses amongst other works.