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 We do not publish books.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

The Prose of Jay Frankston

Jay Frankston

a true story
      by Jay Frankston

Little did I know it, when I made my reservations to fly to London in January, that I was going on a far different trip, that I would travel much further, reach greater heights, and experience more serious encounters than a trip to Europe would have afforded me. You see, sometimes life takes an unexpected turn, and I went to the edge of mine and looked out into forever. 

Although I went with it, I conveniently avoided any thoughts of what they would do to me in that operating room. I knew of course, but I didn’t allow myself to dwell on it. Now that it’s over, the thoughts come back. I no longer fear them, nor the details of the trip. 

In order to work on my heart they had to disconnect me from my body. They had to put me on an artificial heart which would pump the blood. They had to put me on an artificial lung, a respirator. My mouth was taped up and a tube took in the air for me. I truly felt that they had disconnected me from my body, and my soul was elsewhere for a time. A time which cannot be measured in hours or minutes. An elsewhere which cannot be translated into words or described. But I have a deep awareness of the “elsewhere” as a place of knowing, and of having re-established there my long lost contact with God and the universal energy. And all this took place in an immeasurable moment of time in which I was suspended.

No! I wasn’t suspended. I was upheld. Upheld by the voices, the energy, the concern of a lot of people to whom I owe my rite of passage. Let this be my fare!

I remember warm sunny days with a pot-luck and a boogie at Stan Grossman’s land on Navarro Ridge Road. And then someone would say that George was going through hard times and wouldn’t it be nice if we made a circle and sent him some good energy. And we did that. We stood around in a large circle and held hands and closed our eyes and took deep breaths, and sent George good energy to help through his personal storm. And in that circle there was always a skeptic. Usually it was me. Oh! I didn’t break the circle. I made the effort but I had my doubts about its effectiveness. I KNOW NOW THAT IT WORKS. No! I wasn’t suspended. I was upheld. 

When I first came out of the anesthetic after the operation, it was like waking from an earth-shaking dream, a dream I did not want to forget. My eyes were closed and my mouth was taped shut. I was still on an artificial lung and a tube was helping me breathe. I began to feel my hands and feet though the rest of me was still under. I could sense the presence of two or three people leaning over and working on me. Still I felt the intensity of the dream which lay just on the other side of my consciousness. 

I agitated the fingers of my right hand and heard someone say “He’s coming to”. I continued to agitate my hand, joining my thumb and index finger. “I think . . . he wants . . . a paper and pencil”. I did and they brought it to me. Then, while lying flat on my back, unable to feel or see, I scribbled through closed eyelids “It’s . . . a . . . wonderful . . . life”. I would have left it at that but I somehow felt that they misunderstood me so I wrote “Jimmy . . . Stewart . . . movie”. That’s what I brought back from my trip and I want to share it with you.

The movie starts in late evening in a small town. The camera pans the quiet street to a lit open window from which a voice is heard praying: “Dear God, please help George. He’s a nice man and he needs your help”. Then the camera pans over to another open window across the street and there’s a voice coming from it. “And please dear God, see if you can do something for George. He’s in a bad way”. And so to several other windows emitting similar pleas. Then the camera pans up a tree and to the starry sky where all these voices blend and rise like a stack. From the brightest of those stars comes a deep voice: “It looks like there’s a lot of people down there praying for George. Maybe we’d better send somebody”.

Well that’s what happened. There were circles and hope teams, thoughts and voices, and I knew what they had done for me. While the doctors worked on my body in that operating room . . . my soul was held up by a lot of caring people who, alone or with others, thought of me and wished me well. And well I am . . . THANK YOU. It’s a wonderful life.

Jay Frankston - 4 Jul 84
First published in A & E Magazine - August 1984
Published again in The Common Thread Winter 1995 issue

                                               THE LIGHT

NOW with all my senses trembling, NOW with a fever in my soul, NOW with a suddenness that leaves me faint, it has come. It is here. It is upon me and I am blinded by its brilliance. It is all around me and I am lost in its totality. It is within me and I am bewildered, and I am overwhelmed, and I am exalted. And there are no boundaries, and there are no definitions, and all barriers have tumbled, and I am free and undefined.

And it all comes together like a gigantic melting of all the colors of the rainbow into one luminous ray of light, like a harmonious blending of all the notes of the scale into one cosmic note that pierces my being, and penetrates, and vibrates, and resounds,
and echoes in my soul. And I am transported to another dimension on wings of luminescence. And I am sparked by an astral beam. And I am electrified and the particles
come shooting out like darts from every pore of my being. And I am magnified and amplified. And there is this weird sensation that I see, . . . and I see that I see; that I know, . . . and I know that I know. How vivid, how clear, how simple it all is. What depth the revelation of the simplicity of life.

Bright is the light that comes out of the darkness, a blinding flash of omniscience, of the totality of the essence of all, of the unity and the continuity, in time, in space, in foreverness. And words become inadequate. And the eyes cannot take it all in. And the soul cannot absorb it and is absorbed by it. And the mind is in abeyance, as if suspended
and held aside by this moment of transcendence when all is pure light, when it is high noon and there are no shadows to cast shadows, and all is revealed, and all is exalted, and love seeks no companion for love. And I am love. And all that is, moves through me as one big stream and sweeps me along with it in a continuous flow of timelessness, of spacelessness, and it is gone. A sparkle and a glow, and it is gone. A touch of brilliance at once subdued. A force is guiding. There is no force. It is gone.

Now all that is left is the essence. It is present in the air and in all things around me, and they take on a new dimension, a new significance. There is more depth, more understanding, more acceptance, and the knowledge that all is in its right place, even though I do not see it. That things are more meaningful than they appear to be, and the tree is more than a tree, it is part of the forest. And the forest is more than a forest, it is part of the totality of which I am a part, and I am a part of the forest, and I am a part of the tree. That there is an order in the order of things and I am part of the order.

And I find myself at peace with the world. And the moment is brief, yet the moment is eternal. And it leaves me humble, and it charges my battery, and I have the love that I need to go on, to go forth and go on until the next time, if ever, that the light shall be upon me.

The Poem of Sheena Hoff

Sheena Hoff

Stone People

I feel my throat closing up
From the smoke of our mother
My ears deafened by the sounds of her cries
And I feel it,
The way that it hurts
And I feel it,
The way that we ache
It’s sometimes like these times
That I hold a stone person in my palm
And I bring them up to my ear
And each time, they whisper:
“I am your ancestor,
I’ve been here all along
Rest the four corners of your feet upon me
For my composition is the same that you will find in your bones
The same that runs through your veins
I am your ancestor,
I’ve been here a long, long time”

This time,
 I ask the stone person:
Panicky now,
Can I take you with me!?
Please, oh please,
Because I am lonely here, you see
I’m not sure you understand
I say,
Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe
The smoke is getting thicker now
Smoke of Co2’s and CH4’s
Smoke of selfie sticks and
Of wastefulness
And ignorance is bliss
I’m in the generation of me, me, me
What can I do?
I’m just,

The stone person, again,
More slowly this time,
So I can really hear her this time,
She says:
“I am your ancestor
I am your bones
I am your blood
I’ve been here a long, long time
I’ve watched you grow from stardust
And ocean sound
You’re in the generation of indigo
And the earth has asked for
And received for
The times ahead
Don’t be afraid
For its times like these times,
We must be strong for one another”
And playful now,
She half-jokes:
(Just like my grandmother would do)
“How come you only visit me when you want something?
Come talk with me more
As I said,
 I’ve been here a long, long time
And I have stories to tell.”

The Poetry of Russ Cope

Russ Cope

Russ Cope is a writer from West Virginia.


I’m going to overcome
this patchwork wall of doubt,
I’m going to reach out

What we believe about life
shapes the way we live it,
the way we see an object

Immediately changes that
object, transformation,
metamorphosis into the new.


Nobody’s buying quaint
philosophy, most people don’t
want to hear it

People come for comfort,
want someone to tell them
they’re doing the right thing

Even when they are far from
a path, they want someone to
sell them the idea

that the path they’re on is
magnificent and beautiful.