November 6-12, 2023: Poetry from David Holper and Robin Shepard

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David Holper

Poet and Writer David Holper recently published his new collection of poems titled Language Lessons: A Linguistic Hejira.  Using 109 untranslatable words from languages (mostly) other than English, the poet takes the reader on a spiritual journey through life, love, travel, food, and everything else. Each of the poems provides the untranslatable word, its language and definition, a poem that illuminates the word, and an illustration. Paperback and Kindle ebook editions are available for purchase on Amazon.  For more information about the author, visit his website at

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by David Holper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


After the plane lands
or the ship docks
or the train has carried you
over a border
in the dead of night,
you may find yourself
waking early, strolling along
a strange avenue, noticing
how the light settles
differently here than the angle
you never noticed at home. Or perhaps
the coffee tastes like memory. Or just maybe,
when the sycamore leaves fall, they drift
earthwards as if the earth
called them by their true name.

Dépaysement (French, noun): the feeling one gets 
of not being in one’s own country, of being a foreigner.

Robin Shepard

Robin Shepard would rather fish than talk about it. His work has recently appeared in Beatnik Cowboy, Compass Rose Literary Journal, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Naugatuck River Review, Ghost City Review, and Quibble.

The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Robin Shepard and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ode to a Semicolon

Neither a speedbump, nor a crashing halt,
more a temporary construction zone stop.
Your sideways wink links two independent
highways of thought, my travel interrupted,
my sojourn a brief rest to the sentence’s end.
You’re so clever and sly. Stronger than a comma,
less disruptive than a period, you bring together
autonomous and self-sufficient subjects
and make of each a wholly different vehicle.

On either side of you are ideas of equal rank,
or you simply unite a laundry list of things.
You remind me of a woman who tells me
to proceed after making me wait. You tease!
But I should know you’re only trying to cure me
of my notorious habit of splicing commas
and making hash from the meat and potatoes.
Besides, short sentences inspire no one.
They’re unappealing and unprofitably plain.

My dear halfling, my darling neither here
nor there, I glorify your sophisticated style,
your rare and unexpected visitations. I think
you’re misunderstood. Vonnegut called you
a “transvestite hermaphrodite,” an impossible thing.
But that’s fiction writers for you; they make
things up. And when you first appear, as seen
above, you bring an unexpected surprise
that delights the mind with a rare edification.

Truth is, I can’t resist you; you’re much more
than you seem. You’re smart and sophisticated;
moreover, you’re cultured and classy. I adore
your complex and elegant solutions; apparently,
I also trust you with my most treasured conjunctive
adverbs. I love you enough to leave you alone.
But when I need you, you give me structure;
you give me hope; you make me believe
in myself more than any man has a right to.

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