Wednesday, April 26, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Karen Warinsky

Karen Warinsky began publishing poetry in 2011 and was named as a finalist for her poem “Legacy” in the Montreal International Poetry Contest in 2013. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, books and lit mags/blogs, and she has participated in many online open mics including Rattle’s Poets Respond and Ó Bhéal.  She has two books, Gold in Autumn (2020), and Sunrise Ruby, (2022), both from Human Error Publishing.  Her work centers on mid-life, relationships, politics, and the search for spiritual connection through nature, and she coordinates poetry readings under the name Poets at Large.

Find her at

Things Get Lost

Things get lost,

memories fade,

too much history to remember—

too many ancient kings, dust entombed cities,

battles won and lost and won again,

countries and capitals renamed.

Parchment crumbles,

stone cuts soften,

ancestors fall from view.

We forget their names.

Beautiful names

chosen by careful mothers

bestowing benedictions on babies

for a plentiful, happy future.

And so today,

before things get lost

say their names:  

Breonna, Philando, Trayvon, 

Ahmaud, Atatianna.

Harmonic syllables 

rolling out in a cadence of hope

unmet in this world.

Say their names.

Pond Tanka

the pond, still and calm

we paddled slow and silent

through summer’s last day

sudden gunfire nearby

Sunday in America

Swimming in the Time of Kali Yuga

Her fears sometimes glide inside me

doing butterfly kicks and easy breast strokes 

while I cannot swim.

My fear of water runs deep,

placed there by my mother’s stories and doubts,

a liquid fright running over every part of her life

doused by 20th century challenges,

the opening act of the apocalypse, the Kali Yuga, the singularity.

It was windy and cool

the morning of our diving lessons

and the young teacher 

kept her clothes on over her swim suit,

 so, I thought, 

“She won’t come in after me.”

“She won’t get her clothes wet,”

because I had been dipped in doubt,

prepared for betrayal,

taught to expect the worst.

I stopped taking lessons.

Years later my three children became lifeguards;

strong and fearless they dove,

 swam past the buoys,

saved others,

an overcompensation for my driftwood life,

which had taken me far from my past,

from many worries,

though I am always watching for

a flash flood,

a time of unexpected inundation,

a time when nature decides to take back what is hers.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

GAS Featured Writer: Kevin Zepper


Kevin Zepper is an instructor at a Minnesota State University Moorhead university. His most recent chapbook, The Shaman Said, was published February 2023. This is his fifth chapbook. He also has a book-length collection, Moonman. Zepper is part of the North Dakota and Minnesota chapters of Poetry Out Loud. When he’s not writing, he snaps photos, makes music, and acts.


 On rare occasions, I roll back my t-shirt sleeve, revealing my only tattoo on my upper left arm.  Old ink in the light of a new summer. When I bought it a lifetime ago, I wanted something permanent, a piece of art, an open red rose and a blue feather. Something…romantic. Someone inevitably asks what is it? What do you think it is, I ask back. An old college buddy believes it’s a bundle of marijuana, leaves dripping with THC. The goth kid with the jet hair and blue lipstick is convinced it’s a silhouette of the devil. A former teacher tells me it’s obviously a poinsettia with a blue spruce swag on one side. Obviously Christmas-y. A child with a temporary tattoo of a smiling sun on his forehead says that my tattoo is the crab nebula That’s what they learned about last week in science class. What remains is an ambiguous, bluish stamp, a hieroglyphic in permanent ink, a prompt to invite comment. Yet, I still see a hint of where the red used to be, recalling the sting of the needle.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Karen Friedland

Karen’s poems have been published in the Lily Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, One Art, and others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, received the 59th Moon Prize from Writing in a Women’s Voice, and had a poem hanging on the walls of Boston’s City Hall. Her books of poems are Places That Are Gone and Tales from the Teacup Palace. She lives in the West Roxbury neighborhood of Boston with her husband and three pets. Karen is living with incurable, inoperable ovarian cancer.


I suppose I’ve had enough of this world
and her various offerings,
should this cancer take me—

enough green veiled spring-times
with quizzical robins,
enough swelling, crashing oceans,
east and west,
enough molten sunsets
captured through the stained-glass window.

Enough sleepless nights,
thrashing and sweating with self-doubt,
enough news of war,
cruelty, degradation and desperation,
enough personal experience with loss and death.

A small dog nestles into the crook of my knee—
she’s wiser than me—

and I realize afresh
that I’m not quite ready
to leave just yet.

Advice from the Incurable Cancer Patient

I will battle the beast,
and some day, possibly not far from now,
the beast will win—

it’s not personal,
it just is.
So please don’t tell me
to “just be positive!”
and “you’ll beat this thing!”

Instead, remind me to dwell
in the movements
of warrior trees in the winter wind,
and clouds like mountains
sailing past the window—

to dwell fully and absolutely in the one day
I know I have.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

GAS Featured Poet: Wendy Webb

Wendy Webb (she): Born in the Midlands, home and family life in Norfolk, keen gardener and photographer. Published in Indigo Dreams, Quantum Leap, Crystal, Envoi, Seventh Quarry, The Frogmore Papers, The Journal) and online (Littoral Magazine, Wildfire Words, Lothlorien, Atlantean, Radio: Poetry Place), Writing Magazine 1st Prize (Pantoum). Wrote her father’s biography, and her own autobiography. Favourite poets: Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, John Burnside, the Romantic Poets, Emily Dickinson, and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. 

One Little Thing, Baby  


Baby, I love you - with only a photograph

Baby, I love you - wheeled through corridors

to see the back of a head

Baby, I love you - all bleeps and wires

expressed milk, air through tube, that first cuddle

Baby, I love you - the ambulance, the transfer

Baby, I love you - first tiny outfit

tiny nappy after that night ‘alone’

through the night, nurses backing up

Baby, I love you - ringlets of baby fat

on sturdy legs and kiss curls and smile

Baby, I love you - face covered in chocolate goo

ear-piercing screeches, fear of water, cold

Baby, I love you - in Nursery, with help

with tests, professionals, records, milestones

Baby, I love you - loud and brash

in sparkly cape, the Inn Keeper (Nativity)

Doctor, Doctor, Doctor (?Who)

Baby, I love you - loud and gauche

dropping sounds, last in the race

Baby, I love you - reading, reading

Horribles (History/Maths/Geography…)

Baby, I love you - blowing out candles

little parties, friendships, last-minute homework

last-minute routines, last-minute lifestyle

Baby, I love you - studying, struggling

mis-recording, shining through teachers’ reports

parents’ evenings, exams

Baby, I love you - Dad organising Uni visits

applications; deadlines, disorganisation

Baby, I love you - packing, unpacking, Skyping

keeping you afloat or grounded.  Calm, or


Baby, I love you - seeming to fly

discovering personality, clubs; your tribe

Baby, I love you - through thick and thin

not much; between.

Could you, Baby, now you’re mature

show Mum you love her - give her a card?