Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Dots by Brad Frederiksen

Ancients gazed to heaven and detected dots
Winking points of light became connected dots

Embracing in a field of forget me nots
Devoted lovers dwell within dilated dots

The frame that sets our vision leaves a world without
Silent, unseen shadows – disconnected dots

The static on the edge requests of patriots
To trace their borders well beyond selected dots

My name does not determine who my friends are not
Nor ought my place of birth impose rejected dots

Brad Frederiksen, Sydney, Australia

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Wild Wind Dance by Chris Crittenden

insistent wind
licking my window,
accosting the glass
till it shudders
from chilly frissons,

labile wind
sighing to accelerate,
plucking stars
and hurling them
into an allegro of rain,

wind moaning arias
too fierce to hear,
aerial tongues splitting
in loquacity-

trees dance to its rhythms
beyond midnight,
swaying on a carpet
of lost limbs-

the price of tarantellas,
too much mad whirling,
too much clapping for a goddess
invisible except for the spell
of her skirt.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wintermind by Arthur Durkee

Now winter. Fallen leaves still on the walk. We stand talking in the road, kicking leafpiles to see them fly, then wander down to the river. This cruel wind. No hat on, the drizzle soaks my head, hair in my eyes, drops going down the back of my collar. Spinning red maples fall over in brash display, scuff and shatter. The sky glooms and lowers. Somewhere I lost my way.

rain turns to wet snow
ducks thrash turgid black waters—
my eyes washed by tears

When the singer died, I was in the desert. Canyons filled with light, fresh snow, sublime tender evergreens. The silence deepened by memories, now that you've gone. Then, an echo of jays. Looking up, turkey vultures circled over dry arroyos, red earth broken by snow patches. Looking down, even the chollo seemed hunched over. Will we ever play again together? Perhaps in the western lands, beyond the sea.

guitar of dead leaves
scattering gusts of music—
mute song of passing

Arthur Durkee, USA

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Wednesday by Chris Martin

Silver birch picks at cloud hems
Pulls them down over hibernating nests
The bones of a snowstorm rattle over the end of the room
My mouth is ready
To swallow the impending whiteness

Birches and dark firs
Distant faces bark-nicked loom
Reaching into the lacefall

Birch outside my mother's kitchen window
Hides the wind in its trunk
Leans and flings a net to catch the snow

My fingers touch the glass and
I take on the world's shape like a magician
Freeze-dried, forever

My mother taps me on the shoulder
Her glasses are steamed up

We turn to make Thursday's
Pea soup.

Chris Martin, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Untitled by Arthur Durkee

If you hold yourself still, the fox
will always come to you. She moves
silent through dusk, across sudden lawn,
a natural gap between bush and cliff.
She is wary, ears up, nose alert. She skips
lightly, pauses to flick her tail, then
disappears, streak of red and black.
There’s a waterfall, bitter, cold, she sips
when night pauses; a deep water seep
from between rocks that remember dinosaurs
and birth-cries of lost volcanoes, gone
before this beach, this river were here.
An owl calls, very close overhead, between
meadow and shore, moving towards beach;
fox freezes, her tail and belly low-slung to soil,
red blur blending into dusk-toned fireweed,
and waits for owl to pass. If you can shape
yourself into stone, slow-breathing juniper,
your palm cupped to hold rain, and be silent
for endless days, the fox will come to you, sip
cold water, lap your lifeline. Don’t look at her
direct, be a peripheral vision of your own self,
flicker of red and black in lung, heart, artery;
and she will come, tentative, hesitant, but
curious. Become moss, become invisible,
become as ancient as the dreams of cliffs.
If you hold yourself still, the fox will come.

Arthur Durkee, USA

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Fox of Yellowstone by Janie Hoffman

I am impressed by this red fox
chewing on a chocolate bar wrapper
in the parking lot of Yellowstone.
He's long like a corgi but not so wide,
cute and compact, and two minivans
full of backpacks and children
also watch as the sun pulls down
the October day and we do not even think
about how we should scold the careless
tourist who left the candy wrapper because
we are more grateful than the fox
who has given up raising his eyes
to look at us. Calm, he chews
and licks and does not even squint
when we turn our headlights
and motors on and yellow rays
and untuned engines spill
into the night. We leave
him to his prize and privacy
as we need to chase down
our own food and hotels.
He never looks up and fades
away in our rear view mirrors,
dignified red banner licking
chocolate off foil.

Janie Hoffman

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Three-legged Dog With Omelette by Paul Squires

"What's for breakfast, Blue" (for a threelegged
dog tribute poem double self
portrait with hinge.. .
you can't make an omelette without
you see some of us were born to trouble
son when seeing flocks of sheep idly
graze on each others thoughts
in fantasy fields of gentle lies
agreed by some mere mutuality
can't help but bark and it's your
job, Blue, to get 'em moving in the other

direction, they're headin' for the gate, boy,
even it means the only friend left to
talk to is you, Blue,
he says,
melting butter and chopping garlic.

Paul Squires, Australia

Friday, 28 November 2008

At Andy’s Deli by Shane Allison

‘Bout lost my mind when I didn’t see the usual.
Where the pies at? I asked the cute, East Indian man
Standing behind the counter.
We sold out, he said.
I didn’t know Hostess Apple Pies were so popular
Among the masses of Greenwich Village.
He knows how much I like my real fruit filling,
The preservatives and artificial flavors.
My world ain’t nothin’ but a flaky crust,
A cream-filled Twinkie.

Gotta get somethin’.
My sweet tooth is killin’ me.
What’s it going to be:
Ho Ho’s?
Crumb Coffee Cakes?
None of this I like.
Wait, this look good:
Coconut Crunch Donut Delites.
Six in a row.
I’ll take these, I told the clerk.
Place two quarters in his hand.
Pull open the wrapper,
Took the first one out for a taste test,
And right then I knew, this was the last snack cake
That was going to take the place of my everyday routine.

Shane Allison, Florida, USA

Monday, 24 November 2008

the streets are lined by David McLean

the streets are lined with where they were
once – all those who simply stopped
like being was dust in nobody's pocket
and living sinful

the streets are lined with memories
and the fact that i do not remember them
and none are in any everyday heaven
where angels piece their days together

out of love and tiny flakes of snow
the recollection that collects in the nose
as the blood dries still in my lively veins
and crystals that line my face

are licked from the devil's threadbare
carpet, chewing the glass for my eyes
i do not remember them, never knew them
memories and life, just tired time


David McLean, Sweden

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

American Romantics 11/5/2008 by Amir Elzeni

As the dreamer's eyes open
the world changes
and barriers become

life changing moments hovering
close in our minds
memories relentlessly

we grow up carrying close
what we never tell
yet it's right here
on us

can't blame our minds wild
taking off on a wink
sprinkling cinnamon

holding out for some magic
lit deep within us
despite our needs

taking the hard road home
rising above the pain
beating the odds

whispering in our own hearts
fireworks at midnight
pointing at the moon

Amir Elzeni, USA

Monday, 17 November 2008

Moving to the City by Robert S King

Coming here,
broken farmers must believe
that the clouds plant their seeds in concrete
and skyscrapers grow:
tall stalks of corn,
long rows of one-way traffic,
horn honks replacing the songs of birds,
seeds spilling from their pockets fast as money.

Some return to a poor mule,
looking across a stubborn back
where the skyline is a monument:
the stalled traffic of tombstones.

Robert S King, Florida, USA

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Self Healing by Amir Elzeni

Morning burst
into my heart,
my eyes
find light,

unlike birth
you wake up
carrying yesterday,

the soul
gets lonely,

and I,


Amir Elzeni, USA

Friday, 7 November 2008

The Instant You Were Gone by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

The instant you were gone
I started dwelling about the past.
I had a razor on
my mind. I used to worship you.

The instant you were gone
I took flight of all my senses.
I started dwelling on
the past. Not even your shadow

lingered. My eyeballs ached
like tiny stars catching on fire.
I was a bird longing
for death. Your name ripped from my tongue.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, CA, USA

Monday, 3 November 2008

cracked earth girl by Regina C J Green

cracked earth girl
childhood a dry bed of memories

sun-baked exhortations
and wallowing efforts
make for dull eyes

blue turned to crusty brown
a falling away of skin
leaves falling
earth falling
head falling

watering hole past the stage
of caring
forgotten dreams
dried up dreams

cracked earth girl
parched inflamed gone dead
it takes very little effort
to fall asleep now

Regina C J Green, Florida, USA

Friday, 31 October 2008

Brown Man by Arthur Durkee

Rise up falling, corn-sheaves bunched gather rustling stacks by porch swing pillar gate, tan brown still green, green man greening fading to browning man brown cornstalk effigy, leaffall crackle redtouch handscorched bright mark crumble. Old year humus sweat water shell, fill soak forest floor, redbird chitter pine call. Tone of oakleaf belling tree, chime of branch on trunk. Matted brow unfold from mushroom-capped tree-crook. Tamarack and fire maple, twine wind twist vinehair eye open to aching blue of sky. Pines laugh unfallen. Sudden torso, mossed limbs. Heart leaves opening, petaled fingers spread reach grasp out to touch. Wrapped in brown stag cloak and river shimmer, tired eyes drooping towards winter, dissolve merge burrow sink in leaf loam, wild turkeys fly between bare tree branches high over red amber moonrise.

acorn, dream deep
of land soon covered, still:
memories of snow

Arthur Durkee, USA

Monday, 27 October 2008

The last leaf by Rachel Fox

You are the last leaf
On that branch of the family tree
The generations fly by
You hang on, only just
A few fibres still catching
Strong ones, determined
Like those last strings
Keeping a baby tooth in place

The wind tries to move you
But you're tough, well-weathered
Storms have blown, rains have poured
You've kept busy, kept going
And you're dry now, almost powder
Wrinkles have been and somehow gone again
Leaving your skin flat, smooth
It's resilient, kind of beautiful

You're awkward, a little baffled
Only just connected to our silly modern world
You look down at the ground
Where the leaves all fall some day
And wonder how it will be
To lie in the mulch for a while
You look back up to what you can still see of the sky
You hang on to the branch, to your life, a little longer

Rachel Fox, Angus, Scotland

previously published in More about the song by Rachel Fox (Crowd-pleasers Press).

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Wet Windy Leaves by Chris Crittenden

hunchback imps
slouch over pawls
of tousled grass,

serving as sprockets
in the clockwork
of the lawn,
telling time in fits

moored to quirks
of gusts-
like unhappy turtles,
then mousetraps
on a lark,

in false danger,
nipping each other's shreds,


as if they might be stars
in a swatch,
granting a child's wish
with every stagger,
every galumph.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Sunday, 19 October 2008

swamp hypnosis

Swamp cypress rise like elephant legs
from tannin water the color of oolong tea.
Needle crowns hold up a quilt of sky
for me and a boy as we glide in a silent canoe.

From tannin water as dark as wet tobacco,
I turn to meet his gaze but he looks past me.
Paddles raised, our canoe drifts toward
alligators rising from below.

He looks past me, his gaze lost amid the trees,
cawing crows the only conversation.
Does our silence draw reptiles to the surface?
Alligators spy us from below.

Cawing crows skim from tree to tree,
as if to dare us deeper into the maze.
They flick their wings, darting to and fro.
I beckon to the boy, "Let's go, I want to follow."

As if to greet us at the doors to a maze,
cypress crowns hold up a sheet of clouds.
I call the boy who doesn't see me, "I want to go
to the end of a cypress labyrinth, where legs of elephants grow."

Christine Swint, Georgia, USA

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Heavy Water by Casey Diem

You bring me heavy water
Too much to carry or be indifferent to.
You tell me to be careful,
People drown in such shallow pools.

A baptism of love that is out of its depth.

We hurt each other in the past,
We were crueller than the deepest well.

I bring you heavy water
Which you pour into yours.
We catch the light and keep it.
We are holding rainwater in our eyes.

We are going to be an unstoppable river one day.

Casey Diem
(a collaboration between Deborah Murray and Kevin Cadwallender)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Extracts from a Revolution by Howard Good

The queen swallows poison
from the silver thimble

around her neck,
but the king trusts the stroke

of the executioner’s ax
will be clean and true.

Reports of miracles reach the capital
from throughout the kingdom:

love suicides returned to life,
God's voice turned to baby’s babble.

Exhausted celebrants,
stinking of drink,

sleep in the streets.
Now the secret police know

who the insomniacs are,

and the insomniacs themselves
just how interminable the night is.

Howard Good, New York, USA

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Fourteen Lines for KSR by Quincy Lehr

But what if I had looked the other way?
What if you'd only seen me from the back,
wandering to the living room without a stray
backward look? Would you sense a lack
of something vital, or something gone astray—
would I, like a letter in a stack
of unread mail, be as irrelevant
as missives unreceived, or (worse) unsent?

The message was received, but as your lips
finished murmuring my name, you twisted,
beginning your retreat from line of sight
as many miles away, faint sonar blips
went off the map entirely. The sky had misted,
and distant movements merged into the night.

Quincy Lehr, Brooklyn, USA

Thursday, 2 October 2008

ruined everything by shane allison

just came
just came and stole him
just came and stole him right from under me didn’t you
right from beneath me
do you know how under my skin he was
he was this under my skin
until you came along
until you just came coming along
with your dimpled dimples
those eyes perfect as pictures
and screwed it all up
i used to be the only matter that mattered
until you walked into his life
with that walk that you walk with
& walked off with him
when I see you two kissing in the kitchen
kitchen-kissing in the kitchen
i think of how skin deep he was beneath my skin
until you came along & ruined everything.

Shane Allison, Florida, USA

Sunday, 28 September 2008

the Wal-Mart artist by Karl Koweski

I purchased the water color set
on clearance at Wal-Mart
a twenty dollar gift set
of paints and brushes and pencils
for the low low price of four dollars

I intended to paint landscapes
like the horse meadow view
from my kitchen window
or the nearby Depression era
sheds and barns, dilapidated,
anonymous by proximity

but when I finally set
brush to paper
it’s only to paint a comic strip
called "Sucking Hind Teat"
chronicling the misadventures
of a luckless factory worker

just as my poetry
devolves into comedic anecdotes,

profundity eludes me
I’m left with a big smiley face

Karl Koweski, Alabama, USA

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Wing Crazy by Casey Diem

You rescue another bee from pavement.
I rescue you from behind the glass wall,
You take an axe to the darkness around me,
We produce light between us and
Our wings grow like crazy.

Casey Diem

(Casey Diem is the name used for collaborative poetry written by Kevin Cadwallender and Deborah Murray)

Monday, 22 September 2008

haiku by Joan McNerney

What does this cat think
strumming his tail with such ease
to fugues of Bach?

Joan McNerney, New York, USA

Friday, 19 September 2008

Val Fleuri, Mougins by Gordon Mason

Spiders crawl on the laurels.
on the withered path a lizard

meditates. A furrowed face.
The leaves are nervous of thunder

crunch. An old man lifts tiles.
A warm geography on his outhouse.

His hands are fans of fine thin bones.
Clumsy thunder spaces out rainballs.

Paper thin coins mint on the footpath.
Strands of white rain chase a red squirrel.

Grisette the cat crawls through a window.
Her clogged ears retain birdcalls.

Gordon Mason, Scotland and Spain

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Ascent of Magic by Colin Will

On Suilven’s summit ridge
I’m a four-year old, climbing
a spiral staircase too big for me.
The treads are fine but the risers
are a stretch too far and facing out
on a thousand-foot fall
too easily imagined.

Still, having traversed that
there’s the domed grassy top
and a cairn, but the peak experience,
the real triumphs, were below:
the switchback bog slog, the scramble
up to the bealach, and suddenly -
a projection of wonder,
as the whole of northern Scotland
changed from map to photo
in an everlasting instant.

Colin Will, Scotland, UK

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Acts Of Kindness

The sun burns a hole
into the sky's heart

every night
the moon fills it
with clouds,

kisses it

Amir Elzeni, USA

Monday, 8 September 2008

Moonless by Amir Elzeni

The ceiling
was acoustic
white tile,
the lighting
bright fluorescent,
and the feeling
of life being pulled
right out of us:
seemed piped in
through the medicine air,

as we wondered
how the hell
we got here,

why they wear white
in such a bloody environment,

how this is the last place
we should be worried
about money.

Amir Elzeni, USA

Friday, 5 September 2008

La Versanne, Mougins by Gordon Mason

North of seven hundred moons,
they have tended their garden

like fussing birds their nest.
The garden shrinks, the hillside

grows wilder. Pines have become
crowned draughts. Death neatly

arranged. She gathers the last
pinefall in a hand shovel.

In mulberry gown and blue socks.
Eyes silver and stained. In a hand,

crisp as an autumn leaf, he brings
her a forest flower. Moonfall

lit by a taper of birdsong. Not
a patch of voice escapes his mouth.

Gordon Mason, Scotland and Spain

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

In Elgin by Fiona Dunn

A wisp of purple
Flashes in a practised bend,
As the twist of a nut-brown wrist
Unfurls and curls,
Plucking with a brisk tear,
The weeds that greedily encase the single flower
That seeks her nurture and care.

Her dark and placid eyes
Absorb this alien land,
That breathes -
With a light and space
That beckon to -
Another age, a musk-laden place.

The watery sun receives
The incline of her smooth-haired head,
Whisper through her mind,
As East meets West
To a steady beat within her breast…

Fiona Dunn, Kent, UK

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Further Adumbrations by Frank Praeger

Nights that could not be passed over,
days that seemed to linger,
a reach in taught, desire remaindered,
trees that budded and are not remembered.
Purple, gold crocuses, late summer's golden rod
to fetid,

There have been dreams,
magnanimous withdrawals,
shaky gradual drops,
tricked by an unfocused dearness.

Ah, the sun's revivification.

I have heard prayers,
and I have heard their answers:
sharp, dull, flat to full.

After a night's furious sleep
an edgy fatigue,
still, stubbornly resistant to null.

Frank Praeger, MI, USA

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Coupled by Tom Sheehan

The long rope of evening
tightens its soft noose.
Slack falls away from the barn
and sits down in goldenrod field
like a Guernsey waiting for hands,
tired of heavy suspension.

By the window your eyes
catch neither star nor firefly,
nothing shaken to superlatives,
just a small scar of light stolen
from the art of darkness itself,
just the thinned edge of dream

working out of a dim retreat.
We always separate this way,
as if night is a wedge or wall,
final hard divider of the day,
a bolt thrown home by pale hand
sounding ultimate punctuation;

you, dashing into tomorrow
before it takes a first breath;
me, at our history’s lectern,
a professor of yesterdays,
calipers in hand, measuring
littered wayside and foot paths

bringing us to schismatic twilight.
We stand apart, form and matter
of arguments, apt deliberations,
one part silk and one part burlap.
Oh, how we love differences,
and shadows’ falling threats.

Tom Sheehan, MA, USA

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Arctic Tern by Carol Thistlethwaite

Changing technique with the tide.
from headfirst dive
to web-foot-drop,
hesitant with

Wings and streamers
into the shingle,
freshly salted and abandoned
by the now receding

Carol Thistlethwaite, Lancashire, UK

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Teatime on Keir Street by Claire Askew

An obscure moon - porcelain-pattered, or pocked
like an orange drawn by a child - sobs its way up
into a purple sky. Somewhere close, a dog barks

beneath a canopy of sun-faded green, is answered
with the human chime of its name. On Keir Street,
a young man folds light-shards under the bonnet of his car;
vacuum cleaners sing from open windows, shovelling
their strange music out onto flagstones. Elsewhere,

raucous bells reel off their repertoire, bathing
the slate-roofed sandstone streets in audible dusk.
With hosepipes out of bounds, resourceful housewives
serve up dish-water to their spluttering plants;
children thread their Meadows daisies into chains,
a talisman. A solitary aeroplane passes, ladders the delicate skin
of the sky - the swallows dive like graceful spitfires; winged stars.

Claire Askew, Edinburgh, Scotland

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Townscape by Sally Evans

Summer Sunday's ribbon strips:
the tarmac road for tour buses,
motorbikes, cars towing boats,
next a wide pavement, crossed by groups,
the old and families, ice-cream
and purchases, zimmers and prams.
The row of shops' dry caves of wares
are cool and casual. Stairs and doors
show gardens built within stone walls,
a wild track where the railway ran,
a steepening brae you climb to view
the river, pooled below the rest,
reflection mirroring the strath
of skies above the town.

Sally Evans, Scotland

Friday, 15 August 2008

The Lonely Heart by Fiona Dunn

The whizz and zip of the moped,
Rocketing down the dry sodium street,
The teenage girl’s laugh cracks the dusk.
Behind brick and mortar,
Six o’ clock signals the chink of tea-plates onto the table …
The rusty hinge on the gate
Scrapes with the cheap high heel
As the girl turns aside …
A fragile shudder, a throaty rev -
And the new-minted squire of the road,
Inclines his head with the certainty of a later conquest,
And the teenage girl’s eyes shine with a timid lust.
Behind wood and glass,
The thin hand with ghost wedding ring twitches the table-cloth …
Whizz! Zap! Brr-00-mmm!
The acrid smoke her solitary love-token,
And like a whisper,
Stains the tea-plate
As she places it, unused,
In a dark and lonely cupboard.

Fiona Dunn, Kent, England

Sunday, 10 August 2008

To Reach by Amir Elzeni

The days get lost
in the shadows
of living,

in the primal pain
of existence,

the dance often isn't,
to sweet music
my beautiful friends,
most times it's
sirens, hate, intrusiveness,
let downs,

the con is evident
yet the skill to avoid,
seems elusive, for most,

and I search for the smile
that makes it all alright,
the words that make nights

lifetimes between souls,
forgotten times between
strangers, moments
like melting butter
on hot biscuits,

the treasure
within grasp
of those willing.

Amir Elzeni, USA

Friday, 8 August 2008

marbles by Jack Henry

marbles on an uneven floor
blue ones, red
big fat shooters
oxblood, turtle, clambroth
dropped, rolling
holding up a wall
at the far end of the earth

dance gray on tattered glass
sit on low chairs in
dimly lit rooms
marbles scatter as cats
drag the dead and dying
across brown faded hard wood

tilt-a-whirl sunrise
breaks my mecca moment
light breaks through branches
of a coral tree out back
i reach for a marble,
ammo for my slingshot
first window drops
and the breeze
feels so fine

footsteps sound against
the grain of my waking
she steps through blended
light trapped from starlings

she sits on her knees
flips a thick round shooter
to my hand
i smile and take out the door

Jack Henry, California, USA

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Pond by Sally Evans

Cats lie in squares of shade
under the chairs beside
a pond - no one to watch
when golden frogs, black toads
splash and submerge,
or fishes rise,
silver minnow, surprised.
We wait and wait
for waterlily flowers -
fat buds, like minarets
across the flat-roofed pond
in no hurry to show
their colours, or expand -
poems that remain in nub.

Sally Evans, Scotland

Sunday, 3 August 2008

L’Etang, Mougins by Gordon Mason

Poplars stoop over the lake.
A random breeze mocks

the water into small waves.
Sleeping ducks extract beaks

from backs and exhale in disgust.
A twitch of swallows is pitched

off a poplar and scatters like glitter
over the water. The water calms

to hold a cup of sun on its saucer.
The poplar looks morose now

his friends have left: frustration,
resignation. Laying down his sack,

the woodcutter sets to work. A branch
falls into the water. The sun disappears.

Gordon Mason, Scotland and Spain

Friday, 1 August 2008

sun never slows by Jack Henry

i watch the sun climb through
barbed branches filled w/
fat green leaves and
orange trumpet blooms

koi, yellow and white and black,
jump from thick water as tiny
bugs skim across the edge

i am a child in my fears,
waiting for the news to
brighten my day, although
simple words do not seem to sway

metal bars bend as the heat
of my dying litters across
unmarked graves, yet birds
continue to sing and the
sun never slows

Jack Henry, California, USA

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Township and Range by Taylor Graham

No matter how long we stand
at the overlook, this scene won’t stay
still. Not the ponderosa pines
holding just enough wind in their arms
to sway slightly, like old folks
at the edge of dance, remembering
music no one plays anymore; not birds
concealed among the heather-pink
of manzanita bells; nor the cattle, pale
yellow flowers drifting below us
in the swale, too lost in meadow grass
to give bellow.

By the contour map we’re at a divide:
straight survey lines come together here,
marking things off against the heave
of uplift, slough of green hillside
after late-spring rains. Beyond the passes,
a sonic boom. Do I imagine a matching
tremor underfoot? There’s a brief
shapelessness as air wavers
between us and landscape,
the trigonometries of those old
surveyors. It dances to the passionate
steps of Earth.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Saturday, 26 July 2008

My Parrot by Bob Bradshaw

Marie is beautiful,
with her high spirits,
red beak and green feathers.

All day she amuses me, descending
from her bird house
and compulsively climbing up again.

She is fussy and picks through the cage's
floor for seeds, tossing
the bad ones aside
and keeping the good ones.
Her fortune is amassing.

Doctors and nurses
crowd around my bed
while Marie is content carrying
groceries up her penthouse's ladder.

I worry about my Old Marie.
I pray that next spring
I'll be here to feed her.

Bob Bradshaw, California, USA

Monday, 21 July 2008

Barsana* by Ashok Niyogi

in the anemia of broken roads
the parrot call
is still as sweet as the red insides
of guavas in the afternoon
when she surely sleeps
beggars on steps that tumble
upon steps are not aggressive
and ripened corn through the view-finder
is parochial
so many widows whose begging
is like selling sex
so many hunch-backed cows
so much bramble
that black camels eat

her doors are beaten silver
and she is small
with big black eyes
that she will not blink
at this wind-swept light
merciless on the cornices
the monkeys travel long distances

to his conjecture
where beggars more aggressive
and therefore get
food and money
excess flowers
and even monkeys know
it is forbidden to climb
on cell phone towers

to your house or fort
or castle where you played
exuberant pre-menstrual games
to your wind-swept heights
I give you your small black idol
I give you
your incredible eyes

• Barsana is a village about a hundred kilometers south east of Delhi where Sri Radha (Lord Krishna’s consort and prime devotee) is said to have been born and spent her childhood.

Ashok Niyogi, California, USA

Friday, 18 July 2008

Egyptian Lion at Sydenham by Taylor Graham

The Crystal Palace burned. His
nose is gone, his flanks graffiti’d.
Still he guards the walkway,

anciently couchant before a tapered
tower of steel, a sort of techno-skylark
to capture song, or messages.

Who knows what news the sky
might bring. Lightning. Blitz. Man’s
forged fire gone amok.

That dome of industry, iron skeleton
under crystal skin that shone
with heaven’s colors in its blue-

stained windows, the Palace
burned. Before its ruins
the lion lies at guarded ease.

Future is a figment of the sky.
His face is shadow.
Shadowed eye.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday, 13 July 2008

end of the cataclysm by Puma Perl

despite the cataclysmic visions
the end was quiet
we were not overtaken by tsunamis
the roads between us did not flood or burst into flame

it ended just as it began
watching the same movie
drinking the Zanzibar coffee
stirring the creamer
throwing out the cottage cheese
the healing stones will rest against another bruised back
someone will live in the building across the way and watch
someone else lean out the window to smoke non-filtered cigarettes
Dexter will gaze down from the wall and listen
to Lee Morgan as he remembers Ceora
and it will all be very quiet

it all ends in profile
with the sound turned off
it is as quiet as we were in those abandoned buildings
young and junk beautiful
when the skies ran through us
we knew only what we wanted and how to get more

only the endings that I initiate surprise me
others give themselves away faster than I do
an intake of breath
a change in inflection
my name sounding different on their lips
fading, evaporating like the air
in those broken windows on second street

this morning angels danced
across an orange sky
leaning to the left
I saw it was only the sun

masked in black smoke
no magic involved at all
and as the light took over
it all just disappeared

Puma Perl, New York, USA

Friday, 11 July 2008

Cohort by Chris Martin

In a tidal wave of cobbled suns
Spent flower heads cram forward

To see the concert players rise
On the last surprise of wind

Before the last touch of day
Defensive spines fire flushed

Pierce through the buttery walls
Of yellow meadow light

As fieldmouse mingled stems
Bend in applause

Chris Martin, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Walking About in Ajmer* by Ashok Niyogi

this lathe grinds fine
within balls of fire
head tonsured
on foot walks
watery in afternoon sun
this season’s mangoes
outside the vodka shop

emperors walked barefoot
to ask the sun for a son
boon granted
the corn is dull yellow

dynasties outgrew
this gate
that once led
to crossroads
of the moonlight
a huge red fort
and a hospital for the birds

let me buy you
a mirror-work skirt
in atonement for puppets
heavy on string
dew zoomed in
by the muezzin
while you grow roses
in your basil garden
and my money plant runs amok

*Ajmer, in Rajasthan, near Delhi has the shrine of Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti (1138-1225 AD), the famous Sufi saint.

Ashok Niyogi, California, USA

Friday, 4 July 2008

Looking back by Duncan Fraser

creek of my boyhood,
through carefree days we roamed its banks,
we swam, we fished,
and took it all for granted,
but it is just a shadow now
of what it used to be,
life-giving floods are all too rare,
yet still it flows.

now, when I cross the little bridge
that spans the sheltered reach
before it meets the river,
I gaze upstream through older eyes
made wiser by the years,
to see the dappled sunshine light
the beauty that I failed to heed
when I was just a boy.

Duncan Fraser, Australia

Sunday, 29 June 2008

All Last Summer by Taylor Graham

He dreamed of rafting
out of his schoolbook life,
trustful under stars that chart
the course of rivers, to a destiny
of praise. He’d dig for treasure
on an island off the map
and out of time. He’d dare
the ghost with grinning teeth
and make it say its dead secrets.
So he dreamed all summer-long
till summer ended in a fall
of river toward sea,
and Huck Finn drifted out
of childhood.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Friday, 27 June 2008

Homecoming by Dike Okoro

Trees stalk me in sleep.
My silence is the dirge of
A river collecting shadows
Where the sun is a wanderer
And the lonely canoe
A wayfarer.

Dike Okoro

Sunday, 22 June 2008

I Took Pictures by Ashok Niyogi

so it has come to this
hungry bulls with their balls cut off
cows who cry because their udders are dry
this is a perishing garbage hunt
without brasseries

automatons with nose rings
perky like my granddaughters are
towards grass flowers

they say the next avatar
will be a horse out of the east
not as east as we are
where horses carry grooms
calculate dowry
and then chew their emaciated food
until death does us part

your river has walked away
pitiably waterless
melons grow now
in those nooks and crannies
where you stole clothes
which melons are sweeter
the dust bears witness
to sweetness
vagabonds gambol with monkeys
and boats laugh

the immediate question is
do monkeys have enough to eat
or widows or the blind pilgrims
beggars from districts who thought
that monkeys are god

Ashok Niyogi, California, USA

Thursday, 19 June 2008

War Coverage by Dan Shade

Each unnecessary tribe is restless, fabric stressed
Against the moments frame, until it seems
That each part but reflects the whole, compressed
Until boundaries are merged with troubled dreams
Of vague borders amid the random air.

Where the new graves bloom, words flower in empty
Concession to each camera, aware
Of the distance between record and play.
Between distant land and voyeur's womb
Waves alone transmit identity, until
From each harvest an image may distil
The odour of words, the sound of the tomb.

Dan Shade

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Vintage by Amir Elzeni

We never quite know
what accumulates
within us,

sort of collects,
images , stories
read, heard, experiences, childhood
memories, family, friends,
the everyday survival,

we never quite know
what accumulates
within us,

strangers that mattered
in a glance, death knocking
on doors all around us, we
go on, we make it
through hell's days to get
to Love's gardens, a cold
beer and a friend,

we never quite know
what accumulates within us,

but we sure feel it
at the oddest of

heavy, dark, lonely,
resilience wounded
yet still dancing
to a far away song,

the oak barrels
of life

as we age,
beautifully rare,


Amir Elzeni, USA

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

From Tunes from An Innocent with Experience by Fiona Dunn

The shuffle of the shopping bag,
The bewilderment of a companion snatched away too soon,
The can of soup and the packet of Rich Teas -

The sense of someone missing from your side,
The key opens a silent tomb of memories
No flowers in the wedding present vase,
No heat from the stew bubbling in the oven,
No chatter - no sound.
Sitting on the chair, looking out of the window,
A child whizzes by on a skate-board,
A harassed mum yanks a tired toddler up the hill,
Junk mail lands on the mat.
Time has ceased,
Life has stopped so he closes his eyes…

Fiona Dunn, Kent, England

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Thirty-two by Kate Burrows

I stay up too late for someone who keeps aging
against my wishes:
the aging-
not the staying up late; I want to catch the gloaming
the nightfall and rosy 4am
calls to rise.

The young can catch the early dawn
a shared secret between them and
the beetles scurrying across dewy
grass and fat worms;
not nightcrawlers, but those of the early rising type-
the ones who are afraid of robins
and sharp beaks.

I stay up too late for someone who is afraid of the
and the trembling jelly creature who lives
under my bed-
the one who touched my heel
when I was young and of the early rising type.

That scream settled it
no more late nights for me zombies
and, fantastically, handsome sailors
lived under my bed, waiting to drag
me into the undertow
but now it's just one lone sock and a stowaway dream.

Kate Burrows, New Jersey, USA

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

The Angel's Garden by Christine Bruness

The Angels' Garden~
Cement cherubs,
Full winged ceramic
Celestial ladies,
And heavenly
Resin figurines,
Thoughtfully arranged
Next to white roses,
Lilac bushes,
Lush gardenias,
With lavender,
And chamomile herbs,
Gracing the summer air
With a scent
As close to heaven
As a mortal can reach . . .

Her fragrant haven
An intoxicating delight
Where butterflies
Look like fairies
And Mourning Doves
And Song Sparrows
Enchant us with songs
In this sacred place
Of peaceful grace.

Christine Bruness, New Jersey, USA

Saturday, 31 May 2008

might by Rob Plath

i might see spring as a charlatan
but still i plant flowers in may
chinese lanterns & morning glories
beneath the beige chipped shingles
& the gray cracked foundation
outside my tiny apartment

i might see the sun as a giant zippo
under our flimsy flesh britches

but still i walk about & light cigarettes
& flirt w/the flames by blowing smoke
back at its towering lethal tongue

i might see silence as the only real language
but still i humbly mumble these lines
to the landscape & to any creatures within ear shot
in order to gently break the lonely lull

Rob Plath, New York, USA

Friday, 30 May 2008

Nikki by Michael Lee Johnson

Watching doves
peck away,
all day long at
a full bowl
of mixed seeds,
out on the balcony
of my condo-
the cat curls
up on the sofa,
after a meager
meal of house flies-
and dreams of
sparrows with
wide soaring

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, IL, USA

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Dove Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

I hear
scratch of
little dove feet.
I hear peck
of little dove bills
in bird seed basket
on my balcony-
in near silence
on rain-filled
overhead darkness,
cramped up with rage,
holds off a minute
so I may
hear these sounds.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, IL, USA

Monday, 26 May 2008

Woodpigeon by Davide Trame

You liked remarking the four lines
its cooing was divided into, the last line
just a single coo, a full stop
or maybe a question mark suspended
between the sky and the maze of branches;
its call the first sound of the day
promising a canopy of leafy alleys
and shading tidy ochre brick walls
with rows of beeches, oaks,
clusters of rowan berries.
Now that you are far away
you know its marvellous monotony
is a further example of the unattainable
eternal present that allures you:
when you feel you are flashing into the past
all you’ll long for will be just one more coo
lasting in its suspension.

Davide Trame, Italy

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Meadow by Gordon Mason

We walk together through
an invisible wall, a soft bruise

of jasmine on our skins.
Scorched on her mind,

this is early morning
in the meadow when sleep

and dreams have been sold.
In the meadow where light

floods her face, love embraces
dew drops and the river

overflows with the spring rains.
In the meadow where fragile blossoms

are poised like delicate moths
amid the hum of carpenter bees.

In the meadow where the evolving day
awakens her hidden dancer within.

Gordon Mason, Scotland and Spain

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Dead Bees Sting, Too by Howard Good

It feels more like summer, everyone says,
though only the naturalizing daffodils

have bloomed as I drag the garbage cans
around back, and then you’re there,

a peculiar, black-striped pebble of gold plush
that I nudge with the toe of my shoe,

half-suspecting some kind of ruse,

but the rebels in burlap masks have struck,
and the royal escort has fled,

and the gilded coach lies overturned and burning
on a remote road through the dark forest.

Howard Good, New York, USA

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Reflections by Duncan Fraser

Driving down to Bellbird Corner,
whippet tense with anticipation on the seat beside me,
sun shining down from a nearly cloudless sky,
yet it’s winter next week.

The dew’s still on the grass
but the earth is dry without the fickle rain,
it’s different now to when I was a boy on Bellbird Farm,
the weather’s changed.

Along the wombat track
the sound of spinebills’ beating wings is all around us,
the mistletoe’s in flower on dying blackwoods,
sweet nectar for the birds.

We’ve reached the river bend,
where riding in to school so many years ago
we heard bell tones, and looked to find the songsters in the trees,
they’re not there now.

Newry Creek is barely running,
a gentle trickle through the roots and logs,
clear tannic water green azolla frosted, soon to meet
the river’s muddy welcome.

A faint call lifts my head,
my first known raptor, a Whistling Kite,
head down, weaving lazy circles in the blue,
we called them eagles then.

Open the gate to let Jock through,
he doesn’t like the tight-strung wires,
the Golden Wattles by the fence are budding up already,
yet it’s winter next week.

To home now through the dips
once spanned by white-railed timber bridges,
it must be twenty years since they last saw a flood,
the weather’s changed.

Pause for a quiet look out north,
old Ben, rising blue on the far horizon,
whippet still hunting, like Toby sixty years ago,
some things never change.

Duncan Fraser, Australia

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sun Setting Over Dunvegan, Cape Breton Island by George Anderson

My mind is awash of thought
as breaker after breaker foam up
and caress the beach at sunset

Behind me clumps of quartz
rock ablaze in orange & yellow
hues the familiar becoming strange

The colours now rapidly changing
the textures red the sounds symphonic
the sky interconnected with open sea

We lie in the sand holding each other
the suns illuminating the crests of our
doubts becoming apparent time splintering

We return to our tent site. I use a solid
cut of oak from the woodpile to hammer
the bent steel pegs into the hardened earth.

George Anderson, Australia

Friday, 9 May 2008

Moon...Tides by Melanie Bishop

pale cold light
spun quicksilver
on gossamer leaves.

moon tides ebb then flow
as men's hearts...
ride the luminous waves

Melanie Bishop

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Humwichawa by Pam Olson

Let me follow
the moonlight across the rocks
along the wind-marks of the sand

Follow the sweet scent of hope
in the cold night air
of the high desert

Follow the gliding wings
of the yucca moth
searching for the perfect womb
to lay her eggs

Lead me
O moth
to your nursery
in the desert

Lead me
O moth
to the tree called

Can you hear the call
of the desert
to follow the yucca moth
to the Joshua Tree?

giver of sparse shade
mother of moth
sign of water in the desert

*Humwichawa is the Native American Cahuilla tribe's word for the Joshua tree

Pam Olson, USA