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Founder’s Favourites

Issue 18 - March 2022

Author Spotlight: Peter Mladinic


Bruce Levine


Daniel J Fitzgerald


Don Magin


John Grey


K Ann Pennington


Karen Schnurstein


Nolo Segundo

Peter Mladinic


Theresa Baker

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 1

Founder’s Favourites

NEW: Author Spotlight

Peter Mladinic

Knives on the Table 3

Photo Contributor

KJ Hannah Greenberg 11

Poetry Contributors

Bruce Levine

Winter Refrain 8

Winter Dreams 9

Daniel J Fitzgerald

Dreamland 15

Don Magin

Out of Love 5

John Grey

Even Our Bad Days Are Good 6

Super 8 7

K Ann Pennington

Kenny & Will 12

Karen Schnurstein

Good Hands 16

Nolo Segundo

The Red Maple 14

The Plaintive Song of a Stone 18

Peter Mladinic

The Glorious Present 4

Theresa Baker

Child of Emotion 17

Issue 18—March 2022

Founder’s Feedback

Bruce Levine

Winter Dreams (p8) I like the image of winter

moving in slow motion. Winter Refrain (p9) I

enjoy imagining prisms of sunlight casting

shadows on the snow.

Daniel J Fitzgerald

Dreamland (p15) I love the last section of this

poem, where his dreams live in golden fields

with no horizons.

Don Magin

Out of Love (p5) Aww, this tugged at my

heartstrings. Bless this darling’s heart.—such a


John Grey

Even Our Bad Days Are Good (p6) My anxiety

rose while reading this poem. Super 8 (p7) This

produces comforting memories as a child.

K Ann Pennington

Kenny & Will (p12) Another aww read. No one

should close their eyes alone.

Karen Schnurstein

Good Hands (p16) I can relate to the word

choices and statements expressed in this poem.

KJ Hannah Greenberg

I like the peaceful, mysterious theme.

Nolo Segundo

The Red Maple (p14) I like the image of the

leaves dancing, little dances of love., and the last

line. The Plaintive Song of a Stone (p8) I

LOVE inanimate object first-person points of


Peter Mladinic

The Glorious Present (p4) I love the

sentimentality between owner and pet.

Theresa Baker

Child of Emotion (p17) Starry-eyed, laughing,

wondering children are always a hit with me.

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 2

Author Spotlight

Peter Mladinic

Peter Mladinic’s

fourth book of poems,

Knives on a Table is

available from Better

Than Starbucks

Publications. An

animal rights

advocate, he lives in

Hobbs, New Mexico,

USA. Readers can buy

copies through Better

Than Starbucks

Publications https://


cks.org/ and on


Is this your first book? Knives on a Table is my fourth

book of poems. The three earlier ones where published by

the Lea County Museum Press, which is in New Mexico,

where I live.

How did these poems come about? Were they written for

other books or magazines, or just for yourself? Are they

based on real-life events or interests? The poems came

about very gradually, over a period of about 20 years,

though some were written shortly before the book was

accepted for publication, within the same year that Knives

was published. They were written for myself, and then sent

to journals. Some are based on real-life experiences, and

others are made up. I can think of a couple that are based on

events that happened to other people, and in those I just

tried to put myself in the other person’s place.

Were any poems published online or in print? All the

poems but one were published, some in print and others

online, ones written earlier, especially, were published in

print, before there was the proliferation of online journals

that exists today. Today, about ninety-eight percent of the

journals I submit poems to are online journals.

What is the most surprising aspect/misconception of

having this book published? For me, actually, the most

surprising aspect is that the publisher wanted no poems left

out of the original manuscript I sent them. I thought they

might want it shorter, and I thought better to submit a lot,

and let them pick and choose. But they wanted to publish it

pretty much as it was, although the editor did not like my

original title for the book, and came up with the title Knives

on a Table.

How long did it take from the first page to the finished

product? Once I decided to put together all the poems as

one collection, it took about a month. I tried to organized

the manuscript with tonal diversity in mind—happy, sad,

etc. to reflect the changing moods in my daily life, or any

other person’s. I didn’t want, for instance, a section of

happy, upbeat poems, followed by a section of (let’s face it)

depressing poems. Most of my poems, I feel, are dark—

with concerns of loss and conflicts people have. But they

are also threaded with humor. I don’t want to “get caught”

writing one kind of poem.

What was the most challenging and best part of putting

this book together? The most challenging thing was

deciding what poems to include, and the order they should

be in. But in the end, I was happy with what I came up

with. But, I am remembering now, a very challenging thing

was the close proofreading, which I did myself, and also

with the help of a writer friend. In my original printing

there is one typo, but the publisher said they would correct

that for future printing. Better Than Starbucks Publications

is very good about publishing books that have no

typographical errors. The proofreading was a

challenge. There was also a little bit of editing for a few

poems, after the manuscript was accepted. But they

proofreading, again—doesn’t sound hard, but when there’s a

good number of poems to look over, it’s a challenge. It was

for me. I was very glad when that part was finally over.

Peter Mladinic threads the book with poems about the topics mentioned above in the Q&A. A majority of poetry I read once, but I reread some of

them—I had that Wow, I need to read that again feeling. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at

foundersfavouritesATgmail.com with the subject line “Author Spotlight—[Title].”

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 3

The Glorious Present

Peter Mladinic

I folded my sweatpants into a pillow

so he had his own and would stop

taking mine

as we lay in bed side by side.

I woke in the middle of the night,

looked at him asleep on his pillow.

A small joy jolted through me.

When he passes on

I’m going to know what being alone

means. I’ll go to a solitary place

and weep. The greatest tears are

the tears we don’t cry. I’ll tell you

I am without him. However

this dog, who found me,

whom I found six years ago, my half

spaniel who chases ducks into

water, is here, sniffing grass as I

sit in a chair on a patio.

As you are with your bulldog

Tommy, I’m with Sherlock.

rodimovpavel | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 4

Out of Love

Don Magin

When the spectre of cancer appeared at the door

He met it like he always did a stranger.

He barked the warning: You can't come in.

There are precious people here.

Babies, young children, old grandparents.

If you want to come in—if you must!—

You'll have to come through me.

Do what you will to me,

But I won't let you touch them.

God sent me here to protect them

And I will protect them.


Please precious family, don't be sad.

I'm doing what I was created for.

My only pain is your pain of separation.

Do what you always did for me

And I will do what I always did for you.

Out of love.

Photo Credit: Don Magin

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 5

Even Our Bad Days Are Good

John Grey

We always were amateurs at arguing -

after all the buildup from slights,

misinformation, forgetfulness,

we could never stack the air

as full and gray as thunderclouds -

we're not stormy enough, that's our problem -

no irate claps, no incensed lightning

interspersed with throwing plates and cups -

and no rain, as long as you don't count

the occasional tear -

instead of raging for a hour or two,

we go straight to the shaft of light

over hills so newly-minted green—

we'll even grab onto an undeserved rainbow.

We should learn from the neighbors.

On the other side of the picket fence,

no annoyance ever goes unpunished.

Each cross to bear finds voice, loud and fuming.

The simplest turn of events can lead

to cuss words at two paces.

And if they don't smack each other around,

it's just that walls prove more convenient.

When they kiss and make up,

it's like a paycheck at the end of a tough week's work.

When we do it, it's just a job application.

And we already hold the position.

t1cox | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 6


John Grey

On the wide beach of Coolangatta,

I press my arms to my sides,

as my sister nudges me toward the ocean,

the waves ahead of me like foaming jaws

eager to clamp down on five-year-old boys

with pale faces and ill-fitting swimming trunks.

My father aims the camera in my direction.

What to him is posterity, to me is certain death.

Twenty years later, the projector rolls,

as family gather under the light

that fills a makeshift screen.

I’m twenty-five. A girlfriend

sits between my knees.

My sister’s here with her husband.

And two kids. One sits still.

The others having none of this.

The five-year-old me is as embarrassing as expected.

And the older girl’s face can’t disguise her pleasure

in pushing me nearer and nearer to my fate.

But who’s that slender woman in the one-piece?

Such fine brown hair. And attractive face.

She’s laughing one moment, almost trembling the next.

Surely, she can’t be the one bringing in coffee

from the kitchen. That woman I know. But not

this one traipsing across the sand in Super 8.

I’d forgotten that mothers had lives,

were younger once, were attractive enough

to draw the attention of men, could just

as easily marry, settle down, have children,

as the rest of us.

Even then, a camera meant for others

would often seek them out.

ystewarthenderson | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 7

Winter Dreams

Bruce Levine

Counting snowflakes

As winter lingers

Framing the landscape

Like the sash of a window

Frames the glass panes

Divided lights

Outlining snowdrifts

As the lines on a calendar

Divide months into weeks and days

The season progresses

And winter lingers

Moving in slow motion

Toward spring

Leonid Ikan | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 8

Winter Refrain

Bruce Levine

Watching your breath

as it travels skyward

Counting the marshmallows

in a perfect hot chocolate

Frozen lakes

filled with ice boats

racing against the sunset

Prisms of sunlight

casting shadows on the snow

Santa memories

And Christmas presents

under the tree

Snow angels

and snowball fights

Tunneling through mountains

of freshly plowed snow


dressed for a party

and other delights

Sleigh rides

from hill tops

at daredevil speeds

A winter remembered

passed through generations

Collecting mem’ries

and happy winter dreams

mbll | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 9

How to

become a



Accepted contributors will most likely write

about things that are emotionally moving.

Content contains anything I find memorable,

creative, unique, visual, or even simple. If

you want your book in the next author

spotlight (page 3), email me at

foundersfavouritesATgmail.com with the

subject line “Author Spotlight—Title” and

tell me how I can get a pdf or physical copy.

Not sure I will like your submission or book?

Take a chance! You have nothing to lose.

You may end up being among the founder's


Submit today!


Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 10

KJ Hannah Greenberg tilts at social ills and encourages personal evolutions via poetry, prose, and visual art. Her images have

appeared as interior art in many places, including Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Kissing Dynamite, Les Femmes Folles, Mused,

Piker Press, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Front Porch Review, and Yellow Mama and as cover art for Impspired [sic],

Pithead Chapel, Red Flag Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, The Broken City, and Torah Tidbits. Additionally, some of her digital

paintings are featured alongside of her poetry in One-Handed Pianist (Hekate Publishing, 2021).

Photo Credit: KJ Hannah Greenberg

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 11

Kenny & Will

K Ann Pennington

“Hey, I heard they found you by a dumpster,” I said to Will, the new bunny. He just sat still, his eyes half-open,

his ears sort of upright. I moved closer, but we didn’t touch. “I’m Kenny,” I said.

Will didn’t reply.

“Kenny the Kat. That’s my cat tower over there, though I’m supposed to share it with the other rescues.”

Nothing made Will’s expression change. He sat like a statue with a runny nose and a wounded eye. I lay down

next to him and felt his body next to mine. He stayed by my side, and eventually, he dropped his head on my

hind quarter and slept that way for hours. I didn’t move a muscle so he could have a good, long rest in a safe


“Thank you,” Will mumbled to me the next morning when I returned from breakfast. He labored to speak.

I took my same spot next to him, and he rested his head on my side.

“I’m happy to be your pillow, Will.”

“Thank you,” he whispered.

By Sunday, Will and I had slept that way every night for six days.

“You must eat,” I’d told him each morning.

It was always, “I’ll try, Kenny.”

He rested on me the next day. At one point, I thought of a story I hadn’t yet told him. “Will, did I ever tell you

about my mom’s catnip balls she used to make for me?” “No, Kenny. What’s a catnip ball?”

I explained it to him.

“Tell me why your mother’s were so special.”

I did.

As my second weekend with Will approached, I started to run out of life stories to tell. “I think I can see

your improvement, Will,” I lied.

“I don’t think so, Kenny, but thank you.”

Early, before dawn, on Saturday, I awoke with Will’s sweet little head on my hindquarter. “Kenny,” he said,

sounding really small, “Thank you.”

“For what, Will?”

“Just, thank you.”

“Of course, Will. Always.”

We’d fallen back asleep until the sunlight burned my eyes. I lifted my head. Will didn’t move. I nudged him,

kissed him, breathed in his ears, but his eyes stayed shut. I knew. I wrapped myself around his body and

waited for the animal rescue staff to come in for work.

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 12

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 13

jonnysek | stock.adobe.com

The Red Maple

Nolo Segundo

She lives just outside

my bedroom window,

ever loyal, ever faithful—

always in the same spot,

day after day,

season after season—

she’s there to give

comfort, even joy,

especially in November,

the sloughing month

when the leaves fall

in sad splendor, with

grace—but my tree,

my Japanese Maple,

holds out, turns scarlet

with the blood of life,

its leaves dancing

little dances of love

in the autumnal winds

as though it were

laughing at death….

Pefkos | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 14


Daniel J Fitzgerald

Tell me where are your dreams.

Far off, perhaps, in a distant sky

full of stars.

Mine live in golden fields

with no horizons,

wandering in the sun’s shining

and the only clouds are apparitions

of doubt, soon fading away in the light.

Daniel Prudek | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 15

Good Hands

Karen Schnurstein

I have been there with my mother.

I have been frightened and had a procedure there.

The various selves of mine

who have sat in those chairs,

laid on that table,

stepped on those scales—

so different from each other

in so many ways,

yet all the while we were the same woman

who had never come

to feel safe in this world.

The sterility

of the examination rooms,

the solitude while you wait.

A solitude and a bright and stark fluorescence

beaming down on you.

Gauze squares in a jar.

The large perfect circle of his chair.

Photographs of a time when he had more hair.

I have been an outcast there.

I have gazed upon myself in the mirrors.

Undressed and had my breasts examined.

I have cried.

I showed up with a therapist on one occasion.

My earrings jangled

once. Another time I was limping.

Once, my legs were very strong

from heavy lifting.

I came to imagine him as my delivering physician.

As both he who delivered me

and he who shall deliver my child one day.

I can see him there

with my parents

as I came out silently,

cord choking my breath.

I can see him snipping me to life.

Gazing upon me with such

a pleasant face.

My hand in his once—

I could feel the touch

of a healer.

Jason A. Bleecher | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 16

Child of Emotion

Theresa Baker

Ever wonder who’s in charge of wonder?

That glint of light that we all carry when the world is torn asunder, the pieces shattered on

the ground?

Maybe it’s a starry-eyed child making our heart leap when colors illuminate a silver sky

flying when we hear children’s laughter, the sound of innocence.

Even when the child’s eyes go hollow, the face pale

ribs sticking through skin as hope starves, turns to despair

the darkness going on for years

we still find joy in the night when the snow glitters, the pieces of the world now turned

into stars.

For that starving, starry-eyed child is still hard to blow out.

We know that one day, that golden orb will rise out of the sky once again,

slowly, as if making sure we aren’t too damaged,

before hope gets fed to us again, rebuilding.

Gerd Altmann | Pixabay.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 17

The Plaintive Song of a Stone

Nolo Segundo

If I could but feel,

I would feel the warmth of the sun

upon my cold, featureless face....

If I could but touch,

I‘d touch the grass I lay on

and revel in its texture like

a little happy king....

If I could but smell,

all the flowers of the world

would be mine—roses and

daisies and even orchids

would be an endless delight.

If I could but hear,

then all nature would be

my own symphony, the birds

rejoicing, the bees buzzing,

dogs barking, rolling thunder,

a continuous music to my soul....

If I could but see--ah, what would

a stone see? The deep and ever

breathing beauty of the world? Or

would I see the unraveling of it by

that other sentient being who burns

its forests and dumps what cannot

dissolve in a thousand years into

earth’s proud, awesome oceans...?

But I would treasure my newfound

mind, and seek to thank the Being

that could make even a stone see

and feel and hear and think and

even, in time, perhaps love....

Oh how then I would pity those

born with eyes and ears yet

unable or perhaps unwilling to SEE,

living their lives scurrying about

like blind, deaf and dumb rats

while the Eternal Light bathes all.

Nelson | stock.adobe.com

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 18

Contributor Bios

Bruce Levine has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. A

2019 Pushcart Prize Poetry nominee, a 2021 Spillwords Press Awards winner, the Featured Writer in WestWard

Quarterly Summer 2021 and his bio is featured in “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020.” Bruce has over three

hundred works published on over twenty-five on-line journals including Ariel Chart, Spillwords, The Drabble; in

over seventy print books including Poetry Quarterly, Haiku Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal; Halcyon Days and

Founder’s Favourites (on-line and print) and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country.

His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. A native Manhattanite, Bruce now lives

and writes in Maine. Visit him at www.brucelevine.com

Dan Fitzgerald lives quietly in Pontiac, Illinois, tending to home and garden. His poems have been published in The

Writer’s Journal, PKA Advocate, Nomad’s Choir and many others. His work is also included in several


Don Magin, husband (of 1), father (of 5), grandfather (of 15 so far), great grandfather (of 1, also so far) retired

chemist, reborn as a science and math teacher, re-retired, and Santa-Claus-look-alike (Santa never retires!), has

lived in Bon Air, Virginia for 46 years, although he and his wife of 53 years, Margaret, will always call upstate New

York home. He has had stories and poems published in Grand Magazine, Guide Magazine, Central Virginia Poetry

Bard Magazine, The Shine Journal, Sylvia, WestWard Quarterly, Vita Brevis Nothing Divine Dies Anthology, and

many other online and print publications.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review

and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside TJohn Grey is an Australian poet, US

resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books,

“Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana

Turner and International Poetry Review. he Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner

and International Poetry Review.

K Ann Pennington is a social studies teacher who is fascinated by the constructed nature of place in America. She

has traveled over 30,000 miles around the United States by RV in pursuit of her passion. Other favorite pastimes

include examining primary source materials and performing field research on a variety of topics, especially the Civil

War. She wrote the thesis for her M.A. in American and New England Studies during an RV trip where she focused

on the American West. K Ann is working on a historical novel that takes place on the Rocky Mountain frontier just

after the Civil War.

Karen Schnurstein holds a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in World Literature from Western Michigan

University. Her work has appeared in The Ibis Head Review, Bi Women Quarterly, and Adelaide Literary Magazine.

She lives in Southwest Michigan with her two tabby feline companions.

Nolo Segundo pen name of L.J. Carber, 74, in his 8th decade became a published poet in over 70 online/in print

literary journals and anthologies in the US, UK, Canada, Romania, India and Italy. In 2020 a trade publisher

released a book length collection, THE ENORMITY OF EXISTENCE, and in 2021 a 2nd book, OF ETHER AND

EARTH. Both titles (as do many of his poems) reflect the awareness he's had for 50 years since having an NDE

whilst almost drowning that he has a consciousness that predates birth and survives the death of the body—what

poets once called the soul. He was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2022 by an online journal. A retired

teacher (America, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia), he has been married 41 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese


Theresa Baker has been writing poetry since elementary school. Her work has been published in "Scarlet Leaf", "Charles Carter", and

"Calla Press", among others. She lives in Indianapolis with a job at her dream zoo.

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 19

Founder’s Favourites

Issue 18 - March 2022

Thanks for spending time

with my favourites.

Founder’s Favourites | March 2022—Issue 18 | 20

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