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.

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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 We do not publish books.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Poetry Collection of Bruce McRae

Grass In My Hair

I was arguing
with the scarecrow.
His voice
was like a wall
of sand coming
closer and closer.
He had corn
on his breath
but no mouth
to speak of.
His mind
was a straw stalk
in the wind,
all the colours
of a golden
rainbow, there,
but not there,
even his pinstripes
And I was saying
to the scarecrow,
We end,
we begin.”
I was telling him
the true names
of all the dead.
I was asking
a stupid question:
Where’s the crow
inside my head?”
Which he thought
quite funny,
a perpetual grin
on his dried lips,
his eyes seeing
into the far distance,
a tear forming
in the new silence
that summer, and he
impeccably dressed.


The weather promises to change
from man to animal.
Today’s forecast is absence,
with a chance of longing.
In the east, flying horses
and a scattering of flowers.
From the west, incursions,
barbarous hordes, black ice.
The weather changes its mind,
abandons its principles,
is forced to choose between
darkness and light.
They’re predicting tons
of tons and long cold showers.
They say it might break,
but we’re in for hard spell.
Today’s weather is being
brought to you by sponsors
who’d rather you didn’t
put their names around.
Listener, the sea is rising
up out of its empty shell.
For all its talk of courage,
the wind is turning.


The quiet, being taken apart
for easy handling and shipping,
the movers tip-toeing, their breaths
measured, working swiftly, yet
cautious. The quiet being sent
away, moved to another part of
town, in sound-proofed boxes, in
padded crates, in rubber cartons
marked 'Handle With Care'. You
can almost hear it, the way its
weight shifts, the dust being
disturbed, the absurd lengths
that the movers go to not to say
a word, their dark eyes rolling.

This Word Has No Word For It

This word is unpronounceable.
Translated roughly,
it means a bluster of breath.
Spell it as you wish.
This is the first word in words.
It means love
in any language.
And rhymes with nothing.
This is a dirty word.
Nobody knows what it means.
Class, linguistics
is not an exact science.
The word for blood
actually tastes like blood,
a real jaw-breaker
better left unsaid.
And this word will get you killed.
You spit it at your enemies.
Repeat after me:
This is the word for silence.

Cracked Dawn

The day morning failed to arrive,
our chickens listless, the clocks confused,
daisies stunned into silence.
When night was two nights long
by two nights wide by two nights high.
The baker sleeping in.
Padre dreaming of another sun rising
in a mystical realm
of half-dreams and home-baked cookies.
Pa looking for a wooden match
to light ma’s fire.
Dawn, but one blacker than coffee,
yours truly wavering over the sink
while recalling yellow and red.
Remembering what it was like
to see into the far distance.
Light drawing on light.
Daybreak broken.


You mean the house inside the house.
You mean the mythmaker’s lodgings,
with its many doors and million windows.
Which is the sea under the mountains
or a thirteen billion year old light ray.
Which is everywhere, like ancient snow.
Oh, but why didn’t you say so?
You mean the house next door to the nothingness,
across the road from the flaming hospital,
by the exploding dancehall.
Where the carbon blobs happily dwell
and midnight barks like a dog.
Where the spectral sailors are knocking.
The house made of bones being broken.
The house of minds snapping.
The house where the World used to live,
until Tragedy stopped by for a while,
until Time spat out its toothpick.
I remember the blinds in the kitchen
coming down hard.
Like a fist on a table
or satellite crashing.
I remember there were walls in the cellar
and an angry lightbulb on all night.
With vast continents
hidden under its floorboards,
Mr. and Mrs. Chemical, long dead now,
rearranging the grassblades,
old toys still in the yard,
bejeweled in the glistening rain,
the roadway passing
filled with the children’s lost voices:
like a skip-rope-rhyme
in my feverish mind.

Into A Bar

A man walks into a bar.
In his head are visions of amber.
A nail is hammered into his hair.
His hat is in splinters.
A man walks into a bar
and the planets change courses.
Slush and slurry head for the exits.
Gravity tugs on his nethers
while he washes his footsteps in beer.
And like the moon, he tips heavily.
A man walks into a bar.
Which isn’t a bar; it’s a temple
to the goddess of work and worry.
His coins are negatively charged.
His heels are sinking.
Then the waitress climbs from her sleeve.
In her eyes is the great outdoors.
In her heart is an alpine avalanche.
The man stares into his beer,
ignoring her curves and entrances,
his thoughts the size of Australia,
his mouth in drought.
In the time that it takes
to open his hand, nothing happens.
Over and over again, nothing happens.
Somewhere, wind in a meadow,
but the man is riddled with blank,
addled by light’s perspectives.
You can hear his life fading in and out.
He’s slowly coming to his senses.

Death Cannot Be Proved

It’s midnight in the janitor’s closet.
February waits at the end of the hall.
Ghost-mice are performing a danse macabre.
Here, at the institution, everything closes.
We never mention the room inside this room,
the dust-defying gravity, the soul of the moon.
We don’t talk about the inevitable silences
or darkness pooling under a door.
We say little or nothing . . .
Established in the year Zed, the institution
is as dull as a morgue or a meeting.
The air scarcely shifts, the files unmoved.
Our business is zero.
Now it’s 4 a.m., and the roaches hold rule:
tiny tyrants throwing terrible tantrums.
Whom the ancients regarded as very old souls.
Whom the gods embraced in their ruin.

The County Fair

My father traveled to the far solitudes.
My father ate religion.
My father was a monkey riding thoroughbreds.
He’d come home years later.
He had a jezebel at every gas station.
He had a fist like a bus.
Often my mother’d leave out cookies and cream.
She’d bundle us under her apron.
She exhausted her plenitudes and riches.
Oh daddy, like an imaginary friend.
Like a candle puffed out at both ends.
Like Cro-Magnon man counting up to ten.
So then mum buried herself.
She took to the high wires and two fridges.
She petted the boarder.
Not much fun for we thirteen kids.
Not much cop with these ciphers and struggling.
And a hell of an example for the wee bairns.
I remember the Xmas tree on fire
and something thrown from a bridge.
I remember the act of forgetting.
That there were questions we could never put to him.
The Cadillac shimmer.
His long black coat and his wicked glare.
And poor ma, with her head out the window.
Poor ma, embroiled with the children,
and her spirit broken.

Chickadee Thinking

In the mind of the chickadee
is a ball of sparks,
a knot of entrails,
the planet’s littlest vacuum.
The chickadee’s mind whistles,
colour fusing to colour.
It smells like beetles’ fears.
It tastes of summer.
Actually, phantoms there
stroll between atoms of moonlight
and lordly Titans gambol
over the seemingly endless vistas.
There are great thoughts,
and these crackle like spruce tinder.
Like soda bubbles, but they weigh tons
and feel barbed to the touch.
Like wind over a hilltop.
Like lines intersecting wires.
Like smoking campfires of the Mongols,
as seen from a blood-red sky.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Allegory of Man and Love:
We are the Water
By: Angel Luis Padilla

Water, in us,
In nature,
In our emotions,
With relativity to the mind and spirituality,
With the split decision to flow,
Or to crash.
How must we take this poem?
For to fully understand it, we must be one
With the flow of its magic.
Follow this water into the point
Where insanity becomes sane.
It is our love for such things in earth,
And these are my reasons to love you,
Whether you stand ten feet or ten miles
In distance,
We are connected by that common tear drop,
Which mimics the connectedness of the earth’s seven seas.
You truly portray the beauty of innocence
You’re perfect to me
You bring me joy
I feel comfortable with you at all times
I can tell you anything, and do anything with you
I’ve told you my hardships
My life circumstances
I’ve expressed myself to you in the purest form of love; my tears,
I’ve done everything I could’ve possibly done to make myself apart of you
To make myself feel free with a person:
Everything about you sets me free into a world resembling the kingdom above
Our love is the mere image of gracious tides of an endless ocean,
What is inside us, not just water, but our love,
Which flows through our veins.
It is the tranquility of the mind,
Which takes all shapes or form,
Which sets peace over the horizon sun,
Which sets us stranded into the deep seas,
For together we are our own boat,
To set sail for an endless journey of divine fortitudes.
We flow over, around and through our obstacles,
We are the water,
We are the peace,
We are the twelve gallons of abundant happiness.
We are the water my love,
You and I,
We are the water.

Poetry Collection of Nathaniel S. Rounds

Imitation Salvation

Spiderman comes in a Candy stick
Healing comes in a Methadone bus
Mother comes in a memory
All of it is short-lived
With a bitter aftertaste
That kicks you in the Head
I choose to walk down Artz Street
Watch the self-aware step Into
Micro cars and melt into
Waterfront highway
Your golden necklace with Gifts from the sea
Are a cargo crate away
I just have to lift it With my boom truck
Reach through rusty holes
And feel for promise
But something bites when I grab the prize

Petunia (Red)
It has never been easy to Wear this crazy cry Called
Conceived as a terribly Elegant flower
With a need to break the Vicious circle
Before his slender stem Was broken
And when grower and grown Quarreled
It was not with the Present company
It was with their Particular betrayers
Long dead
Like the past by which They were consumed

For you see

When you outrun the Crying madness
And then become overcome By it
You can only crumple like Old paper
In the cold, wet grass
And pray for it to be Over
And to be punctuated by Silence

Valid Mover Voids Marvel

Coyly perverse hogs
Use reverse psychology
To dredge up the ideals
Of your mother and father
And serve them to you as
Photographs of important ritual
To be re-enacted
At tri-quarterly meetings
Of the mind when drenched
With dishwater
And soggy echoes of mod revival
It’s Dad’s pair of shades
Used for avoiding Blindness
From an old sun

Schemes by the Slice

I had to cut up my father Into a hundred pieces of Memory of flesh
The heart that motivated Movement was placed in a Jar
With a disconcerted jury Always present, waiting For the jar to crack
And when it did
They could not stop the Heart from falling out
And from rolling out of The room
To the cool breeze of a Spring afternoon

There were other parts of The puzzle
Hands that dealt the Blows that blinded
And that silenced cries Of protest
Feet that ran to freedom From patriarchal Responsibility
And followed the heart

What I discovered is that The cuts divided flesh But not purpose
And that the ill-Conceived will be made Manifest
Even in a bloodied puzzle Of limbs and stratagems

Bio: Nathaniel S. Rounds was born Nathan Klemperer Pirsch in Bromberg Stadt, Posen, Prussia. He immigrated to WichitaFalls, Texas to research the manufacture of steel taco trucks through its city archives. Taking up cluster ballooning, he flew to Boston, Massachusetts and landed on Mike’s City Diner, where he now washes dishes in exchange for free corned beef hash. 
Poetry Collection of Tendai R. Mwanaka
The Tunisian revolution.
It started with Mohamed Bouziz, gunning an unstoppable bullet with his death. He was 26, married with children. Had a university degree but couldn’t find employment. Had a market place, was a hawker, selling. Had his things confiscated by a woman police. He protested and she slapped him, the humiliation of it all! An Arab woman slapping an Arab man, is unthinkable? He tried to pursue the case with the authorities but they ignored his complaints. He committed suicide by electrocuting himself, the speaking protest, a tidy rhythm. This suicide started humming like winter metal. Tunisia exploded and Bennali was kicked out, creating debate leaf-shaped points across the Arab world....The Arab world: is now a boiling pot... One country after another, each, a long Moor’s hour from unriboning decades of dictatorships.
The Egyptian revolution
Young babies, young children, young people out welling, youngling, unwarping. Christians and Muslims taking us to the edge of intention and showing us what lies beyond doubt? Old men down warping, fathers and mothers. The Israeli press called them stray dogs. But the figures kept ballooning. It started with tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then millions... Cairo is bustling; a mass mortality horizon, Alexandria and Monsouri city are swamped. Tahrir, the liberation square is the hub of this monsoon chanting
“the nation wants the ouster of the regime.”
The day’s song is a lament drawn out like a final breath lost in the stars. Its millions wearing the country’s flag as if the pharaohs have thumped every other country at the CAF African nation’s cup to win it again. Jubilant, passionate, angry... It is a carnival atmosphere. It is a nation raising its bread, the symbol of its suffering and hunger. It is a nation crucifying effigies of its napoleon. It is a nation waving placards written with the fine point of their anger and pain
“Mubarak go to hell”
“America butt out”
“Tel Aviv is mourning”
“Mubarak leave-
we want to live.”
They name the forms of control, youths screaming for an open road to somewhere. Over 30 years of mis-governance, human rights abuses, curfews..., suffering. It is over 30 years in which America and Israel ruled by robot controlling Mubarak. Giving the top brass of army and security the loot of the 2 billion dollars, American taxpayer’s money: just to protect Israel. Israel would joke
”we have one person controlling 80 plus millions of enemies”
Now they have to face the 80 plus million enemies across its borders. Israel is a bubbling “spoilt” child, afraid, scared....
The Libyan war
Before even the first protest was drawn out, there were the killings for years and years. Gadaffi, the giraffe, that fringed phylactory-bound, son of a prophet has now taken the whole country into ransom, pelting his people with bullets, bombing whole towns into rubble, his needles of bullets pointing eastwards.
For many years he had guts and beauty, an intellect that despised the humanist pretensions of the west, its white-skinned predacity. He could smell the corruptions of empires, the annihilations of naked creatures. He was brother man to the revolutions, but now he is now being absorbed by his own medicine, the sulphuric acid melting into him. 
Praying for light and air- a darkness approaching he had never sensed before, he has developed a white finger. Now his western fingers, his white friends, are in the war, against him. Such ill-conceived wars are just what they usually need for the roar of that unreasonable action.
East is revolutionary, the uprising, the wars for towns, adding to strategic places? NATO( rather the: Not Asked To Overstay, organisation), the de-facto UN of the west, is at its games again, curving their own cake in Libya. They want the ouster of Gadaffi, bombing, as usual, innocent people and towns into rubble or collateral damage, that clever American coinage of terms...
Even though I don’t subscribe to NATO’s ulterior motives of invading other countries without a by-your -leave but 41 years under one dictator is far worse than NATO’s games minus those stupid killings. At least NATO won’t stay (overstay) for that long. It told us so! And we are always so stupid to believe?
But Gadaffi has to realise as soon as possible that a man who lacks the means to an end is headed towards a shapeless wilderness. That if you are a king, never undresses your minors. He should ask Mubarak, Bennali..? Now the modern pharaoh is bedridden, facing a death penalty, creating beautiful soap for us whilst Bennali enjoys Saudi’s banquets. Too bad!
Gadaffi should know that too often self-induced addictions to grand delusions cause a man to plot his own undoing. Ask the British, Soviet Union, Byzantine became Ottoman Turkey, Alexander the fool, and now America…
But NATO or Gadaffi answers, both are not the answers to Libya. The revolutionaries (NTC) might be the way to the answer. But, for most of us, the liberty to interpret, to think about it all is frightening. Is this new baby (NTC) a darling or a stranger?
The answer is: It should always be about the people….
The Ivory Coast war
Quattara and Gagbgo are the fighting gods. It’s the Ivorian phenomena, again and again. It’s the geometry found in the shape of their living. It happened in year 2000 and now it’s back again. It’s the fate they have always chosen and live in even though they know it could kill them.
There is a question I have always wanted to ask. Why are francophone countries always raked by civil wars, and are so poor? Could one point the finger at the French? Remember Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Central African Republic and the list is endless. I am out of line here. After all, its one’s self that constructs the place he inhabits.
Abidjan is now littered with corpses rotting, and little kids, kid soldiers are stepping on these corpses as they rush to a killing, diving into this reef of confusion. Grandmothers and mothers oyed and oy-veyed at the little ones playing big soldier mentality in the battle consumed streets.
It’s so sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick....

Tendai R. Mwanaka was born in Zimbabwe, in the remote eastern highlands district of Nyanga, in Mapfurira village. Left Nyanga for Chitungwiza city in 1994, and Tendai started exploring writing that year, when Tendai was barely twenty. My first book to be published, Voices from exile, a collection of poetry on Zimbabwe’s political situation and exile in South Africa, by Lapwing publications, Ireland, 2010. KEYS IN THE RIVER: Notes from a Modern Chimurenga, a novel of interlinked stories that deals with life in modern day Zimbabwe was published by Savant books and publications, USA 2012, found here; A book of creative non-fiction pieces, THE BLAME GAME, will be published by Langaa RPCIG( Cameroon 2013), a novel entitled, A DARK ENERGY will be published by Aignos publishing company( USA). Tendai was nominated for the Pushcart twice, 2008, 2010, commended for the Dalro prize 2008, Tendai was nominated and attended Caine African writing workshop, 2012. Published over  250 pieces of short stories, essays, memoirs, poems and visual art in over 150 magazines, journals, and anthologies in the following countries,  the USA , UK , Canada , South Africa, Zimbabwe, India , Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Italy , Ghana, Uganda, France , Zambia, Nigeria, Spain , Romania, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand.

Poetry Collection of Linda Woolven

Winter Strangers

The dirty grey of winter
laying its slush into storefronts,
as they open their winter doors,
yawning wet ice crystals
into breathy steam.

The bars burp into the night,
clouds of yeast churn
with the snowflakes that settle
in the hair of the regulars
trying to shut out
the cold:
the dark loneliness of December,
on bar stools
with other strangers,
equally starving,
in the death of winter.

Music plays, loudly,
like heavy feet
falling in the snow,
so distant,
of loneliness,
and the emptiness of
drunken conversations.

The blackness of the street
pencils in, like erasable charcoal visions:
all temporary for the night,
where amber bubbles
caress, then bruise
with forgetfulness.

Anxiety/Summer Storm

White caps of madness,
as memory stirs
the shadows
of the deep water:
the black wounded depths,
running from consciousness,
into huge untreadable
And you are swallowed
into the unbreathable strangle of the past,
suffocating in memories
so painful when they surface.

tries to dog paddle
in the storm.

as your lungs fill
with huge gulps
of desperation—;
howls from the past—;
force breaths of fear,
and crawls with indecision.

You are stillborn
on the waves,
locked in the
of your own

Cold and shivering,
in the
the thunder.

Childhood Hide and Seek

The smell of
damp wool
and summer wind
hiding with me,
and I am back
to all
those valleys
so long ago.

Little girl
in sandals
runs in the street
lost at play
with the neighbourhood children.

Her insides stilled for a moment
feeling free and happy in the wind.

The count is done
and someone is looking for her
in the twilight
as the stars stare overhead.

Soon the street lamps
will wink, light between the leaves,
and she’ll be called home for the night.

To bed and the darkness within,
where the wind is shut out
and the shadows sometimes
loom into
words raging
in her ears
and her tears
find her pillow
and she lies in
the wet dampness
of her

Night Sky

The moon
at the horizon,
slack eyed,
lazy its journey.

Summer’s ripe
on the stalk,
heavy and full on the vine.

Gossamer wings
edged in sliver,
whisper soft things
in the night.

little child goes to bed,
scared of shadows
and the voices in the dark.

The moon
slows to watch,
through the blind.

As stars select
their toes for pointing.

So soft on
the stage.
So fairy eyed
and dreamy.

As the child
falls asleep,
sucking the night
sky with his thumb.

Tucked warm
in the night’s embrace
and its midnight layers.

Two Italian Lovers in the New Country

He leaves his socks on,
he is always in a hurry,
puts the blinds down
so it is always dark,
like he can leave
the smell  of oranges
and sunshine outside.

In here, it is serious business.
Like a exercise routine, or morning ritual.

He remembers each of his moves,
going through then
one by one, so thoroughly,
making sure to do each one
as thoroughly and well as he
does everything else,
even with the lights off.
and the sounds of the old country dimmed.

It is his ritual,
I, am his ritual,
and we have been doing it
for over 25 years.

I am an anniversary, an echo,
of the old country:
his peasant girl
in bare feet,
smelling of olives
and the sea.

He finds it
in my recesses
where I keep it:
my gift to him.

It is belonging,
even here, with the rituals so far
from our home.

Two Italian lovers, husband and wife,
finely aged in the
Toronto cask that our
house is with its blinds down
on such days,
to a fine wine,
a memory of the old country.

Linda Woolven have published over 75 poems in journals across Canada, the United States and the U.K.. The poems have appeared in Journals like, Descant, Dana Literary Society, Amethyst Review, Write On, Sepia Poetry Magazine, New Mirage Quarterly, The Kaleidocope Review, Canadian Writer's Journal, Pink Chameleon and Fullosia Press. One of my poems received an award from Dana Literary Society. Linda also published a chapbook, called "Life's Little Lessons" a few summers ago that featured 26 poems. 
Linda have also published a short story in Happy, and a story in Characters.