Submission Policy

Mel BrakE Press acquires first serial rights to all work published. Mel BrakE Press also reserves the right to electronically archive any content published.

All other rights revert to author upon publication.

Mel BrakE Press has a liberal submission policy, and will accept poetry manuscripts (not books) for its next publication cycle, the Spring of 2018.

We do not charge a reading fee. We DO NOT PAY TO PUBLISH YOUR WORK.

We only accept submissions via email for collection of poems. Please send no more than 3-5 pages of poetry as an email attachment using standard MS format. We do not accept epic manuscripts:10 pages or more will be rejected.

Please note in subject line: "Submission".

Manuscripts that do not follow our guidelines
will be subject to rejection. We do not publish books.

Direct submissions or questions to:

Thank you

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Poetry Collection of CARLY GOVE

We are very impressed with the poetry of CARLY GOVE, she writes with the verve, passion and color of an experienced poet. MEL BRAKE PRESS is proud to present her talent.

Brilliant Blue Sky

Sunlight streams through the window,
Falling pale yellow on
Linoleum floor.
Air buzzes with conversation
Brisk teachers addressing surly students,
Vapid, giggling girls doing their damndest
To remain so.
The sky is brilliant blue (the tired old adage),
Blemished not by cloud,
But blessed not by bee,
Nor bird, nor tree.
There’s a subtle
Gentleness in the beauty of the land,
Blanketed by the warmth from above,
Radiant as the face I love most.

Cold, Wet, Temporary

So beautiful, so delicate.
They’ll all melt, someday.
Nothing can stop it.
But they’re pretty in the meantime.
Let’s just enjoy them now, okay?
Don’t argue.
Just forget about the future.
We’ll love them now.
And forget they’re doomed.
Our cold, wet, and temporary friends.


Rushing, icy water wraps around me
Trying hard and hopelessly to pull up from sea
My lungs: so wet
I have not died quite yet
Though it feels like I have, in mind
The fire of mankind
Barely burning behind my eyes
Waves fooling me as skies
A gentle sheet, cupping my face
An old friend, Death, I must embrace
Choking back words I ought to have said
For me, a tear, will they shed?
Life passed me by, without a backward glance
But for opportunity, did I really advance?
Chances gone, time’s run out
Swims by, a lonesome trout
Nose clogged up
Around my mouth, my hands do cup
Searching for some long, lost air
Swirls my face, wisps of hair
Eyes are stinging, reddening, slipping forth
Waves as cold as in the north
My body sinks, deep down under
And all at once, I do wonder
Is there a scarier way to die?

Cold, Wet, Temporary

So beautiful, so delicate.
They’ll all melt, someday.
Nothing can stop it.
But they’re pretty in the meantime.
Let’s just enjoy them now, okay?
Don’t argue.
Just forget about the future.
We’ll love them now.
And forget they’re doomed.
Our cold, wet, and temporary friends.

Love Note

Your breath brushes at my ear
And I find myself relaxing into your embrace.
Your comforting touch pulls me into a sense of ease,
And I nearly collapse with exhaustion.

“Thank God I have you,” I murmur.

You distract me from this life,
And I am eternally grateful.
I love you in all that you are
And all that you aren’t.
You are the reason I ‘m still here.

Thank you, my beautiful library.


The music pounds like
Shots fired from a gun,
One followed
By another.
I can feel the vibrations through my entire
The music is so loud they can probably hear it down
The block.
No one can hear anything else.
This is what I love most.
The anonymity of it all.
It’s the only place that I can easily
Be accepted; the place where
No one bothers to understand.

Kneel and Pray

Heels clicking, hips swishing
We walk
Fluorescent light flicker, reflecting in the shiny linoleum floors
Teachers stand stiffly by doors, searching for something,
In the throbbing mass that stands, walks, slides, dances
To their next class, another 45 minutes
Of counting down the clock
Couples coyly kiss in stairwells,
Avoiding the prying eyes of the lonely
Lustful, jealous teachers,
This moment is theirs.
We find havens where we can,
Hole ourselves away from the hideous warehouse of flesh and metal surrounding us
Hoping for heartaches, hoping for pain, hoping for a break from the tedious
Monotony that follows us like some slinking snake
Threatening asphyxiation at every
Listlessly, we carry on
Faking laughter, faking tears,
We play the pretend game of high school soap opera,
Desperately, futilely fighting with our own ever-present emptiness
Like some great ocean storm that circles
Like the slick decks of our consciousness.
Lost and stupid, we kneel and pray for relief.

Carly Gove is 15 years old and attends high school in South Jersey. Her favorite things include Harry Potter, astronomy, Doctor Who, glassblowing, and, most recently, the movie Brave. Additionally, she enjoys the many-splendored company of her crazy relatives, and even (occasionally) that of her immediate family. She thanks you for reading her poem.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Poetry Collection of CLINTON VAN INMAN

We are delighted to highlight the work of CLINTON VAN INMAN, a regular at MEL BRAKE PRESS


If we could dance just one more night away

Filled with champagne and candlelight,

In hours held by our own delight,

Only this and this alone would please.

Like Chablis mixed with sweet bouquet

In moments we soon shall not forget

Save all not close to the clarinet,

Where only perfume and tobacco lingers

Our love shall rise above all of these.

While we tango upon the outer terrace

Moonbeams shall fall upon your face,

And I shall say that nothing really matters

Except this time that we have passed

Because we have saved our best for last.


Color coded complete with picture I.D.

Well teach you to be like us.

Give you a turtle neck or bow tie

You will be our kind of Mensch

Complete with certificate of authenticity

Credit rating and charge account,

Security, savings, and even disability.

Well teach you how to walk and talk

in circles as if you had some sense.

We will give you some brand named shoes

Well even call you Frank or Frankie

We gave you a brain doesn't matter

Which for they all are just the same,

But why are you still reaching for



It was no accident my coming here,

They must have known long before

I wandered to their farmhouse near

That soon Id knock upon their door.

Call it more than a good neighbors sense

In snow to leave the porch lamp lighted

Or post the sign on the picket fence,

For those in need are all invited.


I learned at an early age

What happens to all snowmen,

Why the fake beards

As I sat upon his lap

And took his hard candy.

Now there is only no in my noel.

But I fool them in my

Berry reds and holly greens

Perpetual as prize ribbons

Now New Years breaks with bad breath

While the world awaits with

Its perfect white teeth, I run like a gnome.


I thought you died

In the last war but I

See you are up to your

Old tricks again

Pointing your finger

Bullying boys to join

Your cause of killing


O say can you see the

Fields filling with those

Who believed your old lie

That freedom means fighting

Now more clownish than ever

In those striped pants and hat,

Yet not as real as rocking children

Waiting, waiting to follow you, Sam


No compass or maps to guide them

Across cruel, unchartered seas,

Only hungry eyes to lead them

To distant, alien shores.

No crosses to commemorate first steps,

Only curious on-looking gulls.

Yet two thousand years later armed

With compass and Greek math and logic

They headed West to find the East

And sailed upon the western Atlantic,

Yet missing two seas and an entire continent

They claimed their New World.


They glitter and glow like flashing stars

The fire flies we chase in summers sky.

With some power we can not understand

We try to catch them and hold in hand

Yet can only watch and wonder why

The ones we catch and place in jars

Will not shine and seem to refuse

Until we open the jar and turn them loose.

And just like us whether a fly or kid

No light shines under glass or lid.


I heard they buried you today

Laid you to rest next to

in God we trust

And the last of your eagles.

It was a closed casket ceremony

Because you were so badly

Disfigured being run over

By a billion evasive species.

We sent your widow a card

Signed by all us

Unemployed union workers.


Of course the rooms are still filled with shadows

While lazar lights and computer programs prove

More cost effective than fire yet the cardboard

Cut-outs and the curtains have remained the same

As well as those old lies that trees are real,

That the way out really goes somewhere,

That Math leads more than circles

And that Apollo himself is behind the curtains

Keeping their domino world from collapsing.

Only a few banned poets or other down and outers

With only a pocketful of Zen dare climb

The arduous way out as most prefer

To sit and argue about living conditions

Or the quality of food and have learned to love

The rope while accepting some back door reality.

FOR ELBA, 2012

Pale would be the waters

That reflect only skies

And grace not the splendor

Of your enchanting eyes.

Pale would be the moon

That only marks its pace

And fails to look down upon

Your more fairer face.

Paler would be the poet

Whose words can not express

One word to match your smile

Or something deeper no less.


I keep it always quite natural

In my perfectly unnatural

Selection this bigfoot in boxers

Freaking nature no Brownian

Movement could ever detect.

Indeterminate yet principled

In my unprincipled principle of uncertainty.

You can find me hunched

Behind a wall of billboards

And thinly disguised bas-reliefs

Leading to the center of unreal cities

Where I keep my temples tall.

Pure bacchanal

From the barrio bringing

Basketsful of baryons

And binary broken bits

Careful, the alphas will leave

You quite brain dead

And all quite meaningless

Among the unions and uniforms

Except for the dream of

Unicorns and unisex.


They buried them in our little Southern town

Nothing much here for miles around

Why, I guess, they figured they'd never be found

Those toxic drums they buried in the ground.

Our little Southern town was much like all those around

Where towers and church steeples stood tall,

Where most folks never heard of a shopping mall,

Yet here kids grow up quick

And here kids grow up strong

Yet we knew something was wrong

When kids were dying or getting sick.

It was those drums rusting and rotting with time

As their poisons seeped out into the water line.

We always thought war was something

Over there and given a foreign name

Not something within buried in our backyard,

And something most of us would never understand

Those drums of Agent Orange came from Viet-Nam

And were buried on our rich mayors land.

Seems our mayor had made a deal with strategic command,

As the drums were buried on his promised land.

The mayor refused to comment and moved away,

While we with our dead children were here to stay.

CLINTON VAN INMAN is a high school teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. He graduated from San Diego State University and was born in Walton on Thames, England. Recent publications include: Warwick Unbound, Tower Journal, The Poetry Magazine, Down in the Dirt, May, The Inquisition, The Journal, The Beatnik, The Hudson Review, Forge, Houston Literary Review, BlackCatPoems, and Out of Four. Hopefully, these poems will be published in a book called, Far From Out as I am still waving the flag of the generation.

A Poetry Collection of CHANGMING YUAN

CHANGMING YUAN presents his thoughtful work to MEL BRAKE PRESS

The Daoist Alchemist

Instead of turning brass into gold or sand into diamonds, the alchemist refines soil, air and sunlight into an immortality syrup. While gulping down the newly made elixir in a hurry, he accidentally spills a few drops of the holy dew onto the ground, which his dogs, cats and chickens struggle hard to lip at the first sight. As the alchemist launches himself for a higher life in heaven, all the animals in his humble house thus begin to rise, certainly underneath him.

The Guizhou Donkey

The first of its kind that had ever appeared in the mountains of Guizhou, the donkey gave a deep impression to all local animals at the beginning. Terror-stricken, even the tiger came to pay his respect and offer his kingship to the newcomer, since he had such an imposing statue as well as such a high-pitched voice. Later, the tiger found the donkey capable of doing nothing other than kicking to defend himself or offend his enemy. With this happy realization, the tiger tore the new king into pieces and ate him up the third time he passed by.

Confucian Gentility

Orchid: Deep in the valley
Alone on an obscure spot
You bloom none the less

Lotus: From foul decayed silt
You shoot clean against the sun
Never pollutable

Mum: Hanging on and on
Even when wishes wither
You keep flowering

Plum: Your brave bold blood dropped
As though to melt all world’s snow
Before spring gathers

Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan teaches in Vancouver and has poetry appear in nearly 480 literary publications across 19 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Poetry Kanto, Salzburg Review, SAND and Taj Mahal Review.

A Poetry Collection of J. ROGERS BARROW

J. ROGERS BARROW is a frequent contributor to MEL BRAKE PRESS, and we welcome his latest work.

Princess of the Lost
The Lost Kingdom
North of Siam, lay the Kingdom of Nan, forgotten by time,
Her king, proud and aloof.
Rich farmland, well tended and kept, with holy wat revered,
Tall, with gilded roof.
Proud were her people, secure in their homes; with temples of stone,
By holy men ruled, taught by the sage.
Passed by and forgot, in the highland green, known only to few,
Kingdom, land of the past age.
There once dwelled a maiden, teacher by trade, now mother and wife,
In her home by the sea.
Peasant girl, once, now learned and strong, proud and free,
Still Lady of Nan, shall she be.
Seeking Merit
Drums, drums went before, with horns,
Sounding loud.
Women followed, in groups seeking merit,
Solemn and pious, the crowd.
Garments fine, garish colors, some with discolored hems,
Feet bare;
Women humble, simple in faith, women peasant born,
Fate to dare.
Men of ancient orders, cheeks pierced by pins;
Eldritch knowledge, teachings arcane.
All bound to some wat, with the city alerted by the drums,
By the march down the lane.
Massed, the ranks of the king, ruler of Ayuddha, did stand,
Borne by boats of sail.
Yellow banners did stream, in the gale,
Over the ranks in mail.
Our ranks of horse did bravely charge, our phalanx advanced,
Relentless all.
Arrows showered down, our men with bows,
Took their toll.
Long Life, Forward the Prince, was our cry,
Our foe did fee.
Panic did we spread, from the rear we came,
Victory did we see.
Lost Children
Flames rose above the towers of Ayuddha, searing and cruel,
Fate most dire.
Screams shattered the night, people filled the way,
Bastions afire.
Lost children cried for succor, standing by still bodies,
Alone, and doomed.
Foemen, minions of their Prince, slashed at the guard,
Red blood did run.
Girls stripped of their robes, despoiled,
Slavery their fate.
Proud city, bastion of empire, fallen this day,
Day of rage, and hate.
Queen of Darkness
Robes of black, the wise woman did wear, her hair did fly in the gale,
Queen of Siam, Lady and Seer.
Jealous of power, ruled by fury and greed, her spells she cast,
Kings and princes, her did fear.
Demons she called, to slay and rend, plagues and droughts,
She sent at her will.
Her minions, kingdoms she did give, crowns their reward,
Thrones thus did she fill.
Kingdoms and empires, did she sway, riches command,
All, all in her hands.
Power did she consume, and still greater her hunger,
Ruled did she all mortal lands.
My brown body I will cast
At your feet.
I have sold my virgin body,
To you, Master.
A handful of copper coins,
Man of the West;
My red blood covers my rags,
Cruel Master.
I cannot sleep, I do not eat,
Will I see you,
Before I die? Will my son,
Know his father?
Your hard wife, a high lady;
She can spare me,
Surely, a crust of bread, a place near,
Her hearth.
I am your concubine, only,
My mouth warm,
My lips soft; you may watch,
Me bathe, Master mine.
Life After Life
For 10,000 years I have sought your love,
As you have seen.
Once we lived in Babylon; I your slave,
You were Queen.
In Teotihuacan you were a temple maiden;
I my life cruelly lost.
Long ago, I carried you away, dear one,
When I raided the Saxon Coast.
But in old Ayuddha, you were warrior bold;
I was your whore.
You were so heartless then, so proud,
So says the lore.
Blue Eyes
His eyes were blue, a uniform he wore,
His sons I bore.
His ship was of steel, with guns of might,
It lay near the shore.
His gift was a great house, and chains of gold,
My mother had joy.
My son the best schools, did attend,
High position, the boy.
Many lovers he had, in many lands,
But I was senior wife.
He lies now near the temple, there still I go,
While I have life.
Bride Price
My mother wanted a high bride price, many gold chains;
Only rich man could talk to her.
He was a man with blue eyes, a trader, very rich,
He gave me a fine house.
I gave him two sons, I cared for him; I was very proud,
My family was poor.
My sons were like their father, they were well schooled,
One a teacher, one a trader too.
When we walked to temple, I was respected by all,
First in my home province.
I was a money lender, fine families came to me,
Once a mere peasant girl.
Iron Ship
His fleet he did command, in the war,
Doom for the foe.
His guns of steel, terror of the sea,
Empires brought low.
But to me he did cling, like a boy,
Eager to make his mark.
His men feared his glance, if error made,
On the ocean dark.
But my hand he held, if skies were dark,
Or pain he felt.
My embrace was dear, weak as I was,
This prize was I dealt.

(J. ROGERS BARROW) Jerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is married to Jiraporn, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan - a valley lost in the rugged highlands of the North, once free under the rule of their wise king.
He has written Myth of the Eternal Return (

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Short Story by RAUD KENNEDY

RAUD KENNEDY is no stranger to MEL BRAKE PRESS and we welcome him, and his short story:

You Can Be Anything You Want To Be

I was napping underneath Tina’s dangling feet—she was the smallest of my two-legger family—while she sat on the old red leather couch between her dad and granddad. Every now and then she brushed her toes against the fur on the top of my head. It woke me with a tickle, but I didn’t mind. Tina was my favorite being in the whole world and could do nothing that would bother me. I just lay there dozing and listening to what the old men had to say. When Tina’s dad took her to the park to play with the other two-leggers her size, he was always the oldest dad there, but the other dads seemed to look up to him as if he’d been through this many times before and was full of wisdom, as if he was the dad they’d always wanted. But he’d just gotten a late start and was in the same boat as they were, though he never mentioned this. He did look more like a granddad than a dad, and with Tina sitting between him and her mother’s father, the two men looked like brothers. She sat there and giggled at the silly things they said while her feet rubbed the top of my head.

“What do you want to be when you grow up, Tina?” Granddad asked.

She pointed at me, lying on the floor. “I wanna be Charlie.”

Her dad smiled at her. He was a lawyer who had wanted to be a doctor when he was young, but the chemistry classes that first year in college didn’t quite take. “You want to be the dog? But you can be anything you want to be when you grow up, a doctor, a lawyer.”

She shook her head. “No, Charlie.”

Granddad rolled his eyes at his son-in-law. “Dan, she’s six years old. What six-year-old wants to be a lawyer?”

“It’s never too soon to plant the idea. I think she’ll make a great lawyer.”

They often went back and forth like this, not agreeing, but not really disagreeing, but letting the tension build, each finding confirmations in their opinion of the other like two old men on a park bench enjoying the possibility of a fight without running the risk of actually having it. I could sense the tension in their voices rise and every time it got too high, there would be a long silence, and then the build up would begin again. I didn’t like fighting, myself, or even the chance of it. Sniff the butt, sniff the face, and then move on. They called me a people dog and they were right. Not once had another dog given me a biscuit. Tina always shared. Sometimes unintentionally, like when she left her bowl of ice cream unattended.

They never said I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. I was the family dog and nothing more was expected of me. Don’t chew Tina’s socks. Carrying them around the house during times of excitement, like when the family returned home, was okay, but don’t put any holes in them, and definitely don’t swallow them. That was bad. Not only did they get pissed when I did it, they’d get pissed all over again when they found the sock in the yard. They dressed Tina in bright oranges and yellows like she was their sunflower and it made her socks easy to find. They stood out amongst all the green of the back lawn, and even passing through me couldn’t fade their colors.

I was to move when told to move, be quiet when shouted at, pretty much just do what I was told. Tina had two older brothers who were old enough to speak almost as well as their parents and they were sort of in the same boat as me. They were often told what to do and shouted at when they didn’t do it. Parental barking was effective, at least in the short term. The two-leggers must’ve learned it from us. Her brothers were frequently told they could be anything they wanted to be when they grew up, but it was followed with subtly toned phrases like, if you applied yourself, or, if you could just focus, or, if you stopped hanging out with that crowd. I didn’t understand the last bit because I never saw them hanging out with any crowd, but there was a lot I didn’t get, like how they could be anything they wanted in the first place. Could they metamorphose like a butterfly? If I’d wanted to be a German shepherd, I couldn’t because I was born a golden retriever and it was my lot in life to feel the need to always have a bone, a ball, or one of Tina’s socks in my mouth. Not that I’d want to be a German shepherd. They were too stressed from being on the job all the time, alert to any two-leggers who didn’t belong, and in the eyes of a German shepherd very few did, and even those who did were often suspect.

Tina’s dad cocked his head at her and glanced at her granddad. “You never know. With all the lawyer shows on television, she might want to be a lawyer.”

“She’s six, for Christ’s sake,” Granddad said. “Don’t you remember what it was like to be six?”

Her dad turned his hands over in his lap and pondered their wrinkled maps of time. “I don’t think I was ever six. I was on the professional track from day one. My parents made sure of that. Never waste a moment. Even the games they let me play had a purpose.”

Granddad chuckled. “I bet Monopoly was one of them.”

Dad nodded. “Yep, sure was.”

“And I bet they always told you that you could be anything you wanted to be when you grew up.”

“Yeah, they did. If I set my mind to it.”

I closed my eyes with a long sigh. Just give me a ball or a sock to carry in my mouth, I thought as Tina’s feet rubbed the top of my head, and all is well.

Raud Kennedy's Bio
Raud is a writer and dog trainer in Portland, Oregon. To learn about his most recent work, Portland, a collection of short stories, please visit