Founder's Favourites - Issue 9

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Founder’s Favourites

Issue 9-Jan 2020

Alex Andy Phuong

Anna Kapungu

Gregg Dotoli

John Grey

John Tustin

Linda Imbler

Michael Lee Johnson

Stella Mazur Preda

Terry Sanville

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 1

How to

become a



Content contains anything I find

memorable, creative, unique, visual,

or even simple. Accepted

contributors will most likely write

about things that are emotionally

moving. Not sure I will like your

submission? Take a chance! You

have nothing to lose. And who

knows? You may end up being

among the founder's favourites!

Submit today!


Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 2

Founder’s Favourites

Issue 9-Jan 2020


Gregg Dotoli

4 Poematic

John Grey

5 Scott and Me

Stella Mazur Preda

6 Christmas 1914

7 No Applause Needed

Alex Andy Phuong

8 Avoiding Stagnation

9 Museum

Michael Lee Johnson

11 Crack Jack Box Poem

Anna Kapungu

12 Paradise Emperor

13 Utopia

Terry Sanville

15 Math Homework

John Tustin

18 Secret of Fire

Linda Imbler

19 Good Vibrations

My Favourites Because...

Poematic Gregg Dotoli—The image of

spreading the inner you like hot honey

on soul toast.

Scott and Me John Grey—I am a fan

of Scott Fitzgerald.

Christmas 1914; No Applause

Needed Stella Mazur Preda—The

sound of Silent Night crackling on the

radio. And the image of ballet of winter

fairies and crystal caverns in No

Applause Needed.

Avoiding Stagnation; Museum Alex

Andy Phuong—Avoiding stagnation

calls for action. Museums hold

remnants of the past.

Math Homework Terry Sanville—I

enjoyed reading the ‘not as it seems’


Cracker Jack Box Poem Michael Lee

Johnson—It’s familiar; I can relate to

some of the lines!

Secret of Fire John Tustin—From

beginning to end words like ocean and

eyes made this a favourite

Good Vibrations Linda Imbler—I

love the possibility of the moon

teaching the sun to sing.

Paradise Emperor; Utopia Anna

Kapungu—Love is compared to being

the sun in someone’s winter. Utopia

without the sapphire—love it!

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 3


By Gregg Dotoli

Discover the inner you

and spread it

like hot honey

on soul toast

find childhood thoughts

from canyons vast

and rich words of ages past

mercury moons

and strange croons

bouncing beams

off endless streams

the rich fabric of poets dreams


Gregg Dotoli has studied English at Seton Hall University and Computer Programming at NYU. He is a White Hat Hacker and works,

keeping organizations safe. His first love is the Arts and he enjoys the rich culture of NYC. Gregg has been published in many

international periodicals, zines and anthologies.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 4

Scott and Me

By John Grey

.It's a May morning

and the sun has finally put paid

to April drizzle.

I'm sipping coffee in the parlor,

reading Fitzgerald.

The caffeine doesn't come anywhere close

to jolting me awake

as do the fortunes

of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway.

How fresh. How alive.

It's like he's just written this

and left it hanging about

in our shared digs

for me to read.

Two pages in

and I'm astonished

that this could possibly be Providence

in 2015

and not New York

and Long Island

in the roaring twenties.

Everything thrilling and seductive

is in the pages of a book

while the real world

can only offer me

every day existence,

boring conversation,

indifferent sex.

When I eventually close the cover,

it's as if I've shut a door in my face.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly

with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 5

Elena Krivorotova | stock.adobe.com

Christmas 1914

By Stella Mazur Preda

Trenches were our beds

our refuge from the enemy;

an altar upon which to offer

prayers for redemption.

On our knees we crawl and pray,

pray and crawl

while ‘Silent Night’ crackles

on the only radio.

Felled in the service of peace

soldiers litter the terrain;

markers of destruction,

they patiently await burial.

A rare tranquility embraces

the darkness, allows us

briefly to dream and remember.

When morning sun bathes the day

silence no longer resonates

and we again take up the war.

Stella Mazur Preda is a resident of Waterdown, Ontario, Canada. Having retired from elementary teaching in Toronto, she is owner and publisher

of Serengeti Press, a small press publishing company, located in the Hamilton area. Since its opening in 2003, Serengeti Press has published 43

Canadian books. Serengeti Press is now temporarily on hiatus. Stella Mazur Preda has been published in numerous Canadian anthologies and some

US, most notably the purchase of her poem My Mother’s Kitchen by Penguin Books, New York. Stella has released four previous books, Butterfly

Dreams (Serengeti Press, 2003); Witness, Anthology of Poetry (Serengeti Press, 2004), edited by John B. Lee; From Rainbow Bridge to Catnip

Fields (Serengeti Press, 2007) The Fourth Dimension, (Serengeti Press, 2012). She is a current member of Tower Poetry Society in Hamilton,

Ontario and The Ontario Poetry Society. Stella is currently working on her fifth book, Tapestry, based on the life of her aunt and written

completely in poetic form. Tapestry will hopefully be released in the Fall of 2019.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 6

No Applause Needed

By Stella Mazur Preda

Cloud-white baskets tucked in their arms

wood nymphs dust the countryside

powder flakes shiver and

the ballet of winter fairies unfolds.

Graceful, they leap running streams

play hide-and-seek among withered shrubs

flitter through naked branches

tips arching, yearning for the warmth of snow.

Where waterfalls escape rock

the North Wind blows in;

white hoar on this breath, stills rushing waters

carves out of a cavern of crystal sculptures.

Breathless sensual eerily silent

the landscape lingers in its winter coat.

leene50 | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 7

Avoiding Stagmation

By Alex Phuong

Change is the only constant,

but only those willing to

change themselves

can make the world

a better place

Jana Losch | stock.adobe.com

Alex Andy Phuong graduated from California State University-Los Angeles with his Bachelor of Arts in English in 2015

and was an editor for Statement Magazine. He currently writes articles and film reviews online. His writing has appeared

in The Bookends Review, Society of Classical Poets, and Wilderness House Literary Review #12/4.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 8


By Alex Phuong

Physical buildings

And artistic architecture

Holding remnants from the past.

Museums hold artifacts

Yet artistic expression,


And creativity

Pave the way for the future.

This present moment in time

Is the greatest gift of all

Because it is, thankfully, not the last.

eikotsuttiy | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 9

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 10

Cracker Jack Box Poem

By Michael Lee Johnson

I don’t wear my pocket watch anymore

it reminds me of my age, 73, soon more,

outdated gadget, time hanging where

moving parts below don’t belong nor work anymore.

I don’t like to think about endings.

Age is a Cracker Jack box with no face, modern speed dial,

no toy inside, when it stops, no salute, just pops.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 11

MarioAranda | Pixabay.com

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet,

freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1072 new publications, his

poems have appeared in 38 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson, has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards

poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 2 Best of the Net 2018. 192 poetry videos are now on YouTube https://

www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos. Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://

www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762;editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here https://www.amazon.com/

dp/1545352089. Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings: the Best in Contemporary Poetry, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1722130717.

Paradise Emperor

By Anna Kapungu

Loved the idea of you

Houses in Cape Town, Houses in Tuscany

Devotion I treasure

Cherish I adore

You are love that is my shelter, my dear

A ship at the seashore, my harbour

Bliss, it’s you I consider

My asylum, out of me tenderness pours

Nights in Paris

Moments we conquer

Cascading fountains of summer

Comforts our nature

Tete-a-tete, the love we nurture

Ablaze in superfluous rapture

Paradise’s Emperor

Freedom is our master

Listen to the oceans

Love is secure

I am the sun in your winter

The writer is a Canadian who lives in Ontario and has published a poetry book entitled “Water falling between words” and will

publish a two new poetry books in the summer entitled “Paradise Moon” and “Feet on Unstable Waters.” Her work has been

published in The Sentinel, Aaduna, Adelaide, Blazexov, The Opiate, The Mystic, Blue Review, and Jonah. Her poems are

featured in several anthologies in the British Library in London and in The Canadian Institute anthologies. Ms Kapungu is a an

artist who writes and sings, and athlete who runs marathons for charity.

nstmrchv | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 12


By Anna Kapungu

She lost all sensibilities

Left in the dawn of the sun rays

Days she waited for his calls

Days crawled into years

Love was not exclusive

A tenure far reaching

She waded through the mud

Fought the revelation of love’s deceit

The empty shell that was her heart

Heard the voice of the woman

Understanding love would not return

Released the force of her being from his aura

Accepted her Utopia without the Sapphire

Mysticsartdesign | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 13

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 14

xavier robtek gallego | stock.adobe.com

morel | Adobe.com

Math Homework

by Terry Sanville


n a cloudy winter afternoon, Sister Mary Saint

John sat at her desk and graded math homework.

With a red pencil in hand and her grade book

opened before her, she worked efficiently,

marking wrong answers and correcting her fifth graders’

miscalculations. Of her 32 students, only Bobby Bruno

hadn’t turned in the assignment. As punishment, she’d kept

Bobby after school, kept him busy wiping down the

blackboards with a wet cloth and dusting the portraits of

Pope Pius the XII and President Eisenhower.

Nearing the bottom of the stack of homework papers, she

stared at lined yellow tablet pages turned in by Rodney

Cochran. She sucked in a breath and froze. Splotches of

dried maroon stained the pages. Some of the drops had run.

A child’s fingerprints decorated the borders.

Sr. Mary pushed her chair back and clutched the heavy

rosary she wore around her waist, hands trembling. As she

fingered the beads, troubling thoughts tumbled through her

mind. Is the child hurt? Did something terrible happen at

his home? Why didn’t he say something? There’s way too

much blood to come from a scratch.

A buzzer sounded in the schoolyard signaling that the third

bus was about to leave for Santa Barbara’s West Side. Sister

Mary stood.

“Bobby, hurry and catch your bus. Your Mother will worry

if you’re not on it.”

“Yes, Sister Mary.” He dashed from the room.

“And do your homework,” she called after him.

She collected the yellow pages and hustled down the

hallway to the Principal’s Office, her leather shoes clacking

against the polished terrazzo.

When Sr. Mary entered the inner office she couldn’t tell

whether the Principal was praying or napping. Sister Agnes

Saint Jude leaned back in her oak chair and gazed at the

ceiling fan.

Sr. Mary cleared her throat.

Sr. Agnes leaned forward. “Ah, you’re still here. I was just

about to close up.” The Principal stared at her. “What’s


Sr. Mary sat in the chair used by wayward students and

handed over the stained yellow pages.

“What’s this? Looks like math to…oh my goodness…is


“Yes, I think it’s blood.”

Sr. Agnes stared through the bottom of her bifocals. “Did

you notice anything wrong with Rodney?”

“No. Nothing. But he’s a quiet boy who sits in the back.

Do…do you think we should call the Police?”

“Not yet.” Sr. Agnes called, “Mrs. Edwards, are you still

there?” but got only silence. “No of course not, I sent her

home an hour ago.” She rose from her chair. “I’ll see if I

can find the phone list.”

“Let me help.”

“No, no. Sit tight, it’ll just take a minute.”

From the outer office came the loud banging of file drawers

and harsh mutterings from the Principal. But in time, Sr.

Agnes returned with a manila folder and reclaimed her seat.

“Looks like the Cochrans live on the West Side, on Calle

Poniente. I’ve got a home number and a work number for

the father.”

Sr. Agnes pulled the black telephone toward her and dialed,

drumming her fingers on the desk. She set the receiver back

in its cradle. “No luck with the mother. I let it ring ten

times.” She glanced at the wall clock. “I’m calling the

father…probably still at work.”

Sr. Mary sat on the edge of her seat and fingered her rosary,

glad that the Principal was doing the phoning.

Sr. Agnes continued dialing. “Hello, can I speak with

Walter Cochran? …Yes, yes, I’ll wait.”

More finger drumming.

“Hello, is this Walter Cochran?...No I can’t hold again. This

is important…You’re taking care of someone?...This is Sr.

Agnes from Dolores School. Is Rodney there with you?...He

is? Good. I need to talk with you about–…I’m sorry if it’s

your busy time but–…No, he hasn’t done anything wrong,

it’s just that–…You’re off in an hour?...Yes, that’s

acceptable. Just bang on the door facing Anacapa Street.

The janitor will show you to my office…Goodbye.”

Sr. Agnes set the receiver down and sighed. “They’ll both

be here in an hour.”

Sr. Mary nodded. “At least we can tell if the boy’s okay.”

“Yes, but I’m still worried.”

“About what?”

“The mother. She didn’t answer the phone. She should be

cooking dinner. Maybe she’s the one who’s…”

“You don’t really think…”

“Maybe I should call the Police, have them check the


Sr. Mary shook her head. “If anything happened, it was


“That makes sense. Go ahead and alert the janitor.”

“Yes, Sister.”

“And have him stay near the office when they arrive. I

know nothing about the father… could be a handful.”

“Yes, Sister.”

(Continued on page 16)

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 15

Sr. Mary rose and hurried from the office. The sunlight

outside had faded, the hallways transformed into dark

caverns that amplified the sound of her footsteps. The quiet

school seemed strange and frightening without the sound

and energy of its students. Maybe that’s how children feel

when they’re kept after school, isolated, cut off, frightened.

I’ve got to think of better ways to discipline them.

Sr. Mary found Mr. Vasquez in the basement, mopping the

cafeteria floor. She passed on the Principal’s instructions

and hurried back to the office, glad to be in a well-lighted

space. The two nuns chatted about the day, about the Open

House being planned in spring, the influx of new students,

including children from Mexico that couldn’t speak much

English. But in a short time, they fell silent and the minutes

dragged with ever-increasing slowness. A far-off door

banged, voices echoed in the hall, footsteps approached.

“I’ll do the talking,” Sr. Agnes whispered.

The inner office door swung open and a man and boy

entered. “Which one of you is Sister Agnes?” the man asked

grinning, showing gold-filled teeth below a walrus


“Please…please have a seat.” Sr. Agnes motioned to an

empty chair.

Cochran laughed. “Gotta admit, it’s been a long time since

I’ve been called to the Principal’s Office.”

Sr. Mary studied the pair. Nothing seemed wrong with the

boy: his red uniform sweater looked clean, his white shirt

had made it through lunch without being stained, and his salt

-and-pepper cords still had a crease. Rodney looked

frightened. But then, the Principal often had that effect on


Walter Cochran slumped into the proffered chair and

unbuttoned his heavy sweater, exposing a clean white shirt

and tie over sharply creased slacks. He rested his big scarred

fists in his lap. A bloodstained gauzy cloth encased his left

thumb and was tied around his wrist.

“I came as fast as I could. What’s the problem here? Did my

son do somethin’ stupid?”

Sr. Agnes straightened in her seat. “Rest assured, Mr.

Cochran, Rodney isn’t in trouble.

Sr. Mary shifted in her seat. The man had a strong smell: the

odor of sweat mixed with something rich and not altogether

unpleasant. She stared at his shoes, heavy boots speckled

with what looked like sawdust and bits of fat.

Cochran leaned back in his chair. “So what’s the problem


Sr. Agnes gathered the stained yellow pages and handed

them over. “Can you explain these, Mr. Cochran?”

He studied them for a moment, looking puzzled. “What’s

wrong with ’em? Did Rodney mess up?”

“The blood, Mr. Cochran, the blood! How did it get there?”

Cochran stared open mouthed for a count of three before

bursting into laughter, the merry sound ricocheting off the

walls. Rodney had stood frozen in place ever since entering

the office. He joined in with a high-pitched squeal.

“I don’t see anything humorous about my question,” Sr.

Agnes said.

The males quieted. Cochran sucked in a deep breath and

said, “I’m…I’m sorry, Sister. Didn’t mean any disrespect.”

“Well, you had best explain yourself, Mr. Cochran.”

“Yes, well I cut meat at the A&P over on Chapala.”

“And… and I used Pop’s order pad to do my homework,”

Rodney said. “Blood gets everywhere in the cuttin’ room.”

Sr. Agnes’s eyes widened. “That’s where you do your


“Well, yeah. I gotta little table in the corner.”

“Look, Sisters,” Cochran said, his face red from laughing,

“normally Rodney takes the third bus. But he comes home

with me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays ’cause his Mom is

out helping with her sister’s new baby ’til after supper.”

“Yeah, we get ta eat at the Twin Burger on De La Vina,”

Rodney said excitedly. “They’ve got these huge shrimp in a

basket of fries that’re great.”

“I’m sure they are,” Sr. Agnes said.

“I’m sorry about the bloody pages,” Rodney continued. “I

ran outta binder paper…and…and I didn’t wanna waste time

just sittin’ there.”

“Very commendable, Rodney. Very commendable. I want to

thank both of you for coming in and explaining the…the

bloody math homework.”

Cochran grinned and fingered his injured thumb. “No

problem, Sister, and I’m sorry about the blood.”

“It did give us reason to pause,” Sr. Mary said and smiled.

The two nuns sat motionless and listened to the retreating

sounds of the boy and his father leaving the building. Their

high raucous laughter of relief echoed down the hallways,

chasing away the gloom.

Terry Sanville lives in San Luis Obispo, California with his artist-poet wife (his in-house editor) and one skittery cat (his in-house

critic). He writes full time, producing short stories, essays, poems, and novels. Since 2005, his short stories have been accepted by more

than 240 literary and commercial journals, magazines, and anthologies including The Potomac Review, The Bitter Oleander,

Shenandoah, and Conclave: A Journal of Character. Terry is a retired urban planner and an accomplished jazz and blues guitarist – who

once played with a symphony orchestra backing up jazz legend George Shearing.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 16

How to

become a



Content contains anything I find

memorable, creative, unique,

visual, or even simple. Accepted

contributors will most likely write

about things that are emotionally

moving. Not sure I will like your

submission? Take a chance! You

have nothing to lose. And who

knows? You may end up being

among the founder's favourites!

Submit today!


Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 17

Secret of Fire

By John Tustin

I have your eyes in my eyes

I have your hands in my hands

I have your heart in my heart.

You tell me I smile like a little boy

And with wine on your lips

You turn over and show

Those deep dark eyes

As sweet as soft as a little girl’s.

Then your hair consumes my body

Like an incoming tide.

I accede to your power over me.

This bed becomes an ocean

Of your hair and your eyes

And their magical darkness

Swarms over me in mist.

Your body glows with perspiration,

With heat.

The smell of your hair, of you,

I fall into submission.

It is all so perfect,

There are your eyes,

All brown, almost black,

So much more, so much more

Than an ape like me can fathom

As I stare into them,

Knowing that they are the

Secret of fire.

Reynante | stock.adobe.com

John Tustin is currently in exile on the island of Elba but hopes to return to you soon. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains

links to his published poetry online.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 18

Good Vibrations

By Linda Imbler

Through the skylight,

I view

a small rectangular patch

of moon’s shine,

so bright,

like a highway line

under a day-glo light.

The power of the moon

to bring forth altruism.

Championing those

who’ll walk

across a room,

and put a new member

of a group at ease.

Advocating for those,


while dancing in front of others,

(even if they’re solo.)

Promoting those,

whose smiles reach their eyes.

Upholding those,

Who recognize misery,

and work to eradicate it.

The world will truly

be full of music

when the moon teaches the sun

to sing just as benevolently.

Unicadmo | Pixabay.com

Linda Imbler has five published poetry collections and one hybrid ebook of short fiction and poetry. She is a Kansas-based

Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee. More information can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 19

Founder’s Favourites

Issue 9-Jan 2020

Thanks for

spending time with

my favourites.

Founder’s Favourites | January 2020—Issue 9 | 20

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