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The Interview with James D. Casey IV

by Anthony Watkins

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Five Featured Poems​

James D. Casey IV is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press. James is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi, currently residing in Illinois with his beautiful Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats. Mr. Casey’s poetry touches on a wide range of topics including personal experiences, love, hate, religion, politics, dreams, addiction, sex, parallel dimensions, and many more. James spends most of his time writing but also enjoys practicing magick, creating artwork, and cooking Cajun cuisine.

Editor’s Choice - Formal Poetry

The Last Speaker of Akkala Sami

(Marja Sergina, the last known speaker of Akkala Sami, spoken in villages on Russia’s Kola Peninsula, died on December 26, 2003.)


I didn’t mean to let it slip away,

but when there were no reindeer to be fed

or children to be called, the words began

to fade. It was too easy just to speak

my second language. For a while I used

Akkala Sami in my prayers. I thought

it must exist because God wanted it,

so he would like to hear it. Now I know

that God can do without a lot of things:

Kola, the reindeer, all my people, me —

and when I’m gone the words will all be gone,

unless the sounds are somewhere, like the light

of long-dead stars. But now I think the words

will die with my own voice, and that ends that.

The last one who will hear it is my cat.



Gail White is the resident poet and cat lady of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Her books Asperity Street and Catechism are available on Amazon. She is a contributing editor to Light Poetry Magazine (

AW: Mississippi, New Orleans, Colorado, and Illinois. I believe you left Colorado when you were one and grew up in the gulf coast south. I left Mississippi before my first birthday but have family there and stayed in the south (Arkansas and Alabama), so I still feel a strong attachment to the state. Do you still feel a connection to your birth state? Does it influence your poetic and non-poetic life?


JDC: I do feel a connection to Colorado, but it’s one that hasn’t been fully explored yet. I’d love to visit more, only been back a handful of times since leaving. And it definitely influences both poetic and non-poetic parts of my life. Yet I feel more connected to Louisiana and Mississippi because I grew up there.


AW: Looks like we have something in common, though not an exact match, but it leads me to ask: what brought you to Illinois? What keeps you there?


JDC: I met My Beautiful Muse through poetry. She brought me to Illinois, and I love them both.

Publisher’s Choice, Free Verse

Featured Poem:

The Way the Lights Hit Bodega Alley

Editor's Choice - African Poetry

Whirling in the Open in Bulawayo


Outdoors in one worthy season

Barbequed meat and all — served

Babies crying, smoke one reason

But their feasting moms unnerved


Beautiful happy souls hooked on meat

Roasted to perfection, what a delicacy

Without Afro-music the party is incomplete

Bulawayo, a fabulous food haunt and fantasy



Ndaba Sibanda’s poems have been widely anthologised. He is the author of The Gushungo Way, Sleeping Rivers, Love O’clock, The Dead Must Be Sobbing, Football of Fools, Cutting-edge Cache: Unsympathetic Untruth, Of the Saliva and the Tongue, and Poetry Pharmacy.

Editor's Choice - Haiku

Hadi Panahi is a PhD student from Tehran, Iran. Hadi is in harmony with his environment and shows the depth of a cow’s gaze.


The barn,

the humid air,

and the gaze of the cow


Throwing a few stones,

our hands hurting,

calm is the sea


A Summer noon,

the male lion yawning

in a zoo cage


(This haiku’s first two lines set up the third with great dramatic effect. —K. McLaughlin)


Hadi Panahi

Publisher’s Choice - Experimental Poetry

Escape to Taos


Come and write

          Where magpies chatter in the trees

          and blind bees gather in the orange-glory flowers


in Taos

New Mexico

          where houses fly away toward Cassiopeia and Orion



          (airs and voices in the summer woods

          residual and enduring


guest house

          illusion of moving water)



          the blue floor of evening hovering.



          Bell sounds and the cool

          transparent notes of Ming Shu flowers.



          Nothing of permanence quite remains:

          fire flicker, tremble of flame


large portal

          everything in transition.

          Why do we suddenly remember?


grassy grounds

          The age of memoir requires a memoir journal,


with apple trees    flower beds    sycamores

          droll stories cutting through the world

          like knives through butter.


First published in At the Horizon Line.



Jeanne Shannon grew up in Virginia and now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes poetry, memoir pieces, and fiction.

. . . and now . . . 

 . . . from the mind of . . .

     The Mad Poet

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April 28, 2020. Re: print issues of Better Than Starbucks:

Last week our print publisher, Lulu, began migration to a new system. Since then, our print and electronic copies have not been available for purchase. Our May issue, due out tomorrow evening, will still be published online. Contributors will still receive their choice of PDF or eBook. Print copies will not become available until the publisher’s site is fully operational again.

If you’d like to purchase a PDF or eBook of any issue please email us at betterthanstarbucks2@gmail — payment via Paypal only — and also ‘pay what you can’ during the lockdown.

— Vera Ignatowitsch

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