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