Weekly Write: “Reflections” by Maxine Peseke


I saw you this morning
slightly hurried,
one eyebrow groomed in
a somewhat socially acceptable
Excusing the other with murmurs of reassurance —
“Sisters, not twins”

you left with a smear
of toothpaste
on the corner of your lip

When I saw you saw, frazzled,
in the afternoon,
toothpaste was replaced
with a crumb from whatever
mediocre lunch you fed yourself —
but you’re only human

though it’s safe to say
the toothpaste
was a cleaner look

Regardless, you should eat more, dear.

But keep going —
I’ll send you packing
with a snack in your purse.

When you arrived home,
your eyes looked drawn;
a corner of your prided eyeliner
had streaked from some absent
midday eye rub

and really,
I thought this morning,
you should get more sleep.

But I smiled when the mirror
fogged up with steam —
you probably didn’t see —
and you wiped your face

Maxine L. Peseke is a writer, mother, and sometimes freelance editor; she also works closely with Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC, as an organizational assistant. She is currently living in a small Northern Ontario town, transplanted from New Mexico respectively where she originally met each of Saturday’s Sirens as part of the Albuquerque poetry community.

Weekly Write: “edges burn more readily than centers” by kat heatherington

edges burn more readily than centers

edges burn more readily than centers.
setting an edge alight is a simple matter,
though putting it out again may not be,
if it is inclined towards fire.
the center doesn’t light so well
unless you reach it through the edge,
take the slow route in, open its defenses.
only water will put the center out, once alight.
anything else just picks up the blaze,
amplifies, and burns.
you came pretty close to the center,
smoldering your way in from my furthest edge,
taking a lazy course through the perimeter,
tossing sparks, until suddenly, you had arrived
in the flammable heart,
and everything around you ignited.
surprised, you could only
watch it burn, turning in slow circles,
observing, unable
to reach your hands out toward the flame.

Click the image to order the heart is a muscle from Bookworks ABQ.

the heart is a muscle
by kat heatherington

Kat Heatherington is a queer ecofeminist poet, sometime artist, pagan, and organic gardener. She lives south of Albuquerque New Mexico, in Sunflower River intentional community with a varying number of other humans and cats. Kat’s work primarily addresses the interstices of human relationships and the natural world. She has one previous book, The Bones of This Land, published in 2017 by Swimming with Elephants Publications and available at Bookworks and Harvest Moon Books in Albuquerque, as well as on amazon.com. She can be found online at https://patreon.com/yarrowkat and on instagram at @sometimesaparticle. You can contact the author at yarrow@sunflowerriver.org.

Weekly Write: “What is Precious is Never to Forget” by Bill Nevins

Publisher Note:

The team at Swimming with Elephants Publications was greatly saddened to hear of the passing of one our authors, Bob Warren. We are dedicating this week’s Weekly Write to a poem by Bill Nevins which honors him.

To learn more about Bob and his poetry, head over to: https://swimmingwithelephants.com/2019/12/18/r-b-warren/

What is Precious is Never to Forget

Eulogy or Elegy for the Living Poet, Ever Near this Poor Man’s Ear

Dear teacher Stephen Spender taught me long ago
“Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields . . .
The names of those who in their lives fought for life . . .
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”
Soour poet of Litanies Not Adopted singed and signed the air here with his fierce honor
His love of life, of even poor Christ
Whom he saw in every parched or vibrant face he found
In this weary land, in Detroit City, and in this dry desert town.

As Donne told us the toll sounds for each however mean
SoBob preached love too would ring in us every one
If we found that buried note that stream
It might be blood of the lamb, flowing free in our deeds
It might be only buried deep in our unborn seeds
It might need be wrested forth
By words of fire, touch of light, fury, oh cold star- light.

Bob wrestled with God, he did, and surely still does,
and no holds barred.
When and where none but angels saw.
No one won. None lost. The Holy Ghost, Bob’s second, called a draw.
“Why dost thou hide thyself in clouds
From every searching Eye?”
With Blake, Bob challenged the coy deity to Be HERE Now!

I think the sky god only laughed and saw itself in the house of store among the lost,
In the mirror of Bob, son of man, and knew revelation needed no more
Knew no airy sky god need be found when Bob and such walk solid ground.

But that’s just me, agnostic mystic disrespectful American rebel son.
I would not mess with Bob nor Barbara, armed lovers ever, love in arms.
And that warning applies to the god of grief, that holy thief-
-Don’t mess. Best, just bless.
And move along, now, Daddy-O. You done your best and worst.
Bob abides. Bob never hides.
Bob may go, but Bob is here, right here. We know.

Ah won’t Detroit howl and mourn when they hear?
Ah won’t Sonny that strong hero of Motor City laugh and cry for the tall brave man called Whitey X—who knew Black Lives Matter deep in his heart and needed no one to tell him so?
And won’t this second tier rhymester raise his beer, shed a tear?
And won’t sweet Jesus smile to know that Bob is near? Always near.

Bill Nevins grew up Irish Catholic near and in New York City in the 1950’s and 60’s. He moved to northern New England and raised his three children, one of whom, Special Forces SFC Liam Nevins, died in combat in Afghanistan in 2013. Bill has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico since 1996.



Weekly Write: “The Sunflower Song” by KilhaPoetry

The Sunflower Song

I dreamed that I stumbled upon a field full of giant sunflowers
And lay my head there down to die.
While the heavens gathered up all their stormiest rain clouds
That fell from the tubular sky’s.
Too great was my sadness to fight.
Too lost to the tragedy now begun.
Alone in my field full of sunflowers
With no life to wish to carry on.

I dreamed that the earth consumed me.
My wretched body decaying outwardly in.
Until there was no memory of my presence or being
And no one could remember even who I had been.

I dreamed that sunflowers grew wilder and strong,
Their mighty stalks growing thicker with height.
They grew into the horizon and up into the sky’s,
There petals looming with grandiose might.

Cocooned in my deathly slumber,
From the peace in which I now lay.
A curiosity stirred awaking a part of me,
A part no earthly death could just wash away.
And deep in that place of unexistance,
deep in my transient state,
I felt such heavenly beauty
Breath new life into the loneliness place.

Adrift on the wings of salvation,
With courage retuning and restored.
I marvelled at the world so vivid and true
With enough beauty and love for us all.
Now in my field full of sunflowers
that mourned for the life I couldn’t save,
I dreamed of a love to unfold without tragedy.
Without fearing loss or fear itself to be the reason for blame.

I dreamed that I died in a field full of sunflowers,
With such beauty that I had never seen.
And deep in my field full of awesome giant sunflowers,
I’m rebirthed each night in my dreams.


MMKilha is a London born poet with Egyptian and English/Irish heritage. She started writing when she was very young as a way of processing and surviving an abusive environment. She says, “I started writing because I couldn’t talk about what was going on. I wasn’t trying to be creative, I just needed a way to communicate”.

She has continued to use it as a method of reflection ever since. 

With a back catalogue of work big enough to fill her garage, she only became public in 2017 after a friend encouraged her to overcome her insecurities being dyslexic and having ADHD.

She says the impact of writing means she no longer feels the need to apologise for herself; “If people like the work that’s great. I’m over the moon when my words speak to another person but if they don’t, that’s fine too. Since being open about these issues I have received so much support from other dyslexic writers who tell me how much my honesty has meant to them.”

MMKilha is currently in her final year of her Masters in Childhood and Adolescent

Psychotherapy working with children from abusive backgrounds to help them make sense of their own stories though creative interventions. 

MMKilha performs independently on the London spoken word scene as well as with the @Poetical_Word collective  poeticalword.org providing them with a vital Therapist in Residence service for their outreach programmes.

For a selection of her work or to get in contact she can be found on Instagram @kilhapoetry. 

Please feel free to get in touch.



“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2020 Anthology.

Click here check out the 2019 Anthology:  Trumpet Call; a Swimming with Elephants Anthology available for only $12.95.

Weekly Write: “The Astronaut” by Rachel Glass

The Astronaut

One day, I’ll look out of my bedroom window
and smile, even if the world is ending.

The world is ending,
I tell my doctor.

My doctor tells me I shouldn’t fantasize
about smiling out of my bedroom window.
Smiling out of my bedroom window
is the opening scene, of a sitcom based on my life.

The sitcom based on my life makes others laugh.
Others laugh, and I am jealous because I cannot laugh.
I cannot laugh because I am too tired.

I am too tired,
is something else I tell my doctor.

I tell my doctor,

I am an astronaut,
readjusting to a normal life.

This normal life is making me homesick:
I miss the emptiness of space, and being wrapped in stars.
Being wrapped in stars is a distant memory,
and now, I am wrapped in blankets.

I am wrapped in blankets because a normal life
has too many people, too much noise,
and too much gravity, holding me in my bed.
In my bed is where I am happy.

I am happy when I’m alone,
I tell my doctor.

I tell my doctor,

I am happy,
even though my world is ending.


Rachel Glass currently lives in Scarborough, England and has been writing poetry since she was was sixteen. She has had a number of poems published on the Poetry Society’s website and a poem was featured in a Valley Press anthology. She is usually found writing, drinking hot chocolate and wearing glittery shoes.



“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2020 Anthology.

Click here check out the 2019 Anthology:  Trumpet Call; a Swimming with Elephants Anthology available for only $12.95.

Weekly Write: “Habitual Healing” by Timothy Kelly

Habitual Healing

The body has a way of remembering
the habits that we create.

Some call it muscle memory,
While others say they are instinctual,

Like the way I hold her hand:
With mine covering her thumb and index finger

Because my hand is so much larger.
We can’t hold them any other way,

It doesn’t feel right otherwise.
One day, I drove the streets I knew

Remembering the charred house
That has been replaced.

I can still feel the dresser, the carpet,
And the heat on my back

As I searched the way since I was taught:
Crawl, Reach, Sweep. Crawl, Reach, Sweep.

Habits are created because they’re obvious
And they are easy.

The dishes are easier to place in the sink
Rather than wash them right away

And laundry is best left in the basket
Because who actually has time to fold it?

Flaws are simple to infuse into my thoughts
because they stare me in the face

Who wants to have a scavenger hunt
For the things they like about themselves?

Habits are a thought process
Built over time, cues and triggers

A call for help, is a call for help,
No matter where you are.

Which is why “off duty” does not exist
And work does not stay at the office.

The back of a plane simply
becomes a much smaller ambulance

The whining engines now sirens
Descending upon our destination

This does not mean that you cannot change
But that it needs to become more obvious.

Gradual steps create new patterns
on a journey to a reward:

Acceptance, that overflowing dishes are okay
Laundry will be folded in time

That you are okay the way you are
And you will become who you need to be


Tim is a Healing Artist, social worker and volunteer Firefighter/EMT. As an Introvert trained to appear extroverted, he creates to share in the human experience with you and is always interested in hearing your story.



“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2020 Anthology.

Click here check out the 2019 Anthology:  Trumpet Call; a Swimming with Elephants Anthology available for only $12.95.