Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Standing Stones by Simon Kewin

Not the wind to worry the stones
Nor the passing shadows of crows
Casting brief cave-paintings there
Not the gazes of women and men
Nor, then,
The gazes of their great, great, great, great grandchildren
Only the years
Flake away by layers of dust
Peel back the skin, in search of the meaning
But the obelisks, obdurate
Remain silent, disdainful
Keeping their long purposes to themselves

Simon Kewin, UK

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Rise and Fall by Martin Hodges

Grey, distorts the black
rise of mizzled crows.
Echoes, feathering in retreat.
Rebels with their caws.
Perched in the clinging damp
of a blind day.
Steeped in silence.

Do not disturb.
Their honeyed notes
are long lost to the fields.
Sunk in sullen soil, locked in flint.
Rasping remnants tear the surging
winter skies and pinch the heart.
Chaos, cast in black,
and robbed of a sweet song.

Martin Hodges, UK

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Red's the colour by Gabrielle Bryden

red proved the toughest contender
in the fiery battle between black and colour

he was a radical mover and shaker
a hot-blooded fighter

who waved the scarlet standard tall
for black to see and force to fall

he led all colours deep into the heated battle
memories of the long dark days

ignited their passions

which raged and flared
creating their own light

they reveled in the spilling of crimson blood
and black recoiled in horror

red rolled out the carpet for his friends
when the battle was won

power to the petite

of every shade
advancing into the open

a revolutionary freedom
cause for celebration

let’s paint the town.

Gabrielle Bryden, Australia

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Still-Life Ballad for a Crow by Jay Coral

on a barbed wire
your steady eyes
i pity
not putting you
next to a rose
on a snowy day
your black sheen
rejoicing in Titian red.

Immaculate white
the crow wonders
why winter
is a delicate harvest
the guts
not as black
as the heart
the reekness
of no reds

Jay Coral, Los Angeles, USA

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

illuminations of a cat by Regina Green

strike out boldly
learn from the collective
beware of hand-held treats
always appear negotiable then
walk away with tail held high
mice and high heels are fair game
scratching behind the ears can be
used against you
you can take the loner persona a bit too far
the best part of the day is reserved for
sleeping it away
you can say i'm yours and i won't disagree but
i'll keep you up at night wondering where i am
i am beautiful but you know that
it's harder than it looks

Regina Green, USA

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Feathery Language by Cathy Cullis

Icicles like never before.
I could get used to breathing like this,
a feathery language.

It is now fine to wrap yourself and go,
anywhere, upstairs, to the stars.
The moon has a new dead ring.

A cat enters with a frosted beard,
enters your dreaming, refuses blank stares.
Stairs, stars and stares. This is your winter.

Liking its efforts, snow won’t stick.
Later is no longer in the dictionary of snow,
this blue makes present even recent mistakes.

The secret is a little egg white, the taste of kelp.
This is how even stars spread themselves thinly.
You wear your coat inside.

Cathy Cullis, England

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Wave by Joanna Ezekiel

Climate Change March, December 2009

for a while
the skies as blue
as our fingernails

and hats
below the placards,
scarves, banners

an undertow of
fuels us
we walk further
than expected – penance

for your new gloves,
my bottle of water
at Parliament

we hear cheering
fall back
like birdsong

strange in December
upon Westminster Bridge
our blue concern

waves high tide
Joanna Ezekiel, UK

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A Sung Dynasty Landscape by David Chorlton

The ancients in their mist
sitting by an ink block
at the tip of a meditation
created mountains with a stroke
quick as wind crossing silk

while they left empty space
to flow from their scrolls
into infinity
which we
in our time have discovered

to be smaller by the year
soon to weigh no more
than the snow on a sparrow’s back

when it touches down
in winter and we say
what a relief we thought
there were no more of them.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Curtain of Wine Bottle Tops by Mavis Gulliver

Africa Remix Exhibition

Down the high wall
folds fall
an undulating hem
across the floor.
Glints of gold
ribbons of red
slivers of silver
draw the eye
the dimly lit gallery.

by the surface shine,
no-one notices
the flickering shadows
on the wall behind.

But I watch them
like the moonlit ghosts
of dead drunkards.

Mavis Gulliver, Scotland

Monday, 22 November 2010

McDiver's Creek by Donal Mahoney

Autumn’s over.
Wheatcake odors flood the wood

front porch. Andrew Block,
in mackinaw and overalls,

tamps first tobacco of the day
and estimates his morning.

In an open field beyond McDiver’s Creek
a colt, palomino apricot and snow,

nips grass between great gallops
and the shock of trees.

Donal Mahoney, MO, USA

Friday, 19 November 2010

Mustang by Kevin Heaton

I am all that you have lost,
and will never understand.

I filled my lungs with freedom
and was grateful. I bolted

unsaddled across the wind
with happy spirits on my back,

and we shared as brothers.
I quenched my thirst in mystical

waters flowing from the inner
core of life, and I gave thanks.

I raced over hills and through
canyons in dream visions

of the people, and they told
of my valor. Now you shod me

with iron, and tangle my pride
in lariats of bondage.

I was the freedom you cannot

Kevin Heaton, SC, USA

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Peppermint Tree by Lee Stern

I think I should have a peppermint tree to show for everything.
And I think I should have it now.
The fact that they don’t make peppermint trees
shouldn’t even enter into it.
I expect you to deliver it to me
and send me a card telling me that it’s on the way.
If you tell me where to put it, that’ll be a plus.
But I’m so used to you not saying anything
that, if I have to figure it out myself,
I won’t get excited. And I won’t blame you.
Because I know you have enough to worry about.
And you don’t need me to chime in with more aggravation.
So you don’t have to say anything.
Just show up with the peppermint tree
and I’ll consider that you’ve done your job.
I’ll consider that there’s a forest somewhere.
Maybe loosely tied together with dust in its hands.
And its angels are whispering your name.

Lee Stern, California, USA

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Exoneration by Angel Zapata

The storm fluctuates, edges closer to sterling.
Turbid rolls of nebulous sheets charcoal and tumbleweed,
spin furious as leaves strike magnetic gold.
I count the seconds between the miles.

The moon plucks a star from its eye like a thorn.
The pitch is ambrosia and midnight;
a canopy of liquid umbrellas melting to a fold.
I am wet from the effort of raising this tide.

A rumble, like the smooth hands of the deaf on a speaker,
stirs the porcelain cauldron, the brew in my delicate cup.
I am thirsty for vowels, for consonant intoxication,
but it’s always coffee he grinds.

This kitchen is tile and plaster, linoleum and stainless steel.
I am fragile stone frozen in my pine chair.
My husband thinks I ignore his pleas for redemption.
He is only beginning to understand the storm.

Angel Zapata, Georgia, USA

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Moon lines by Rachel Fox

The moon will get more blurred, not less
And more and more I'll look in vain
For edges
And reasons

Old errors lose their lines and shapes
Leave flashes, not whole cycles
There are peaks
And troughs

I see how all is blending thick
Mixing, slurring, soup-of-lifeing
Is it done yet?
Is it right?

I stir, I eat, I look, I sleep
I dream of moons that fill the sky
With brightness
With courage

Rachel Fox, Scotland

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Talking about it by Mairi Sharratt

It is the silence between the words
where much is said. But her mouth
could not form the sounds
that surround its deep lapping.

Her mind could not speak them to her.
Instead it would glimpse a single frame
of what happened.

Quick enough so not to relive,
but still, it ripples through her day.

Mairi Sharratt, Edinburgh, Scotland

Monday, 1 November 2010

Day of the Dead by Sergio Ortiz

On the day of the dead, Pablo put his pants on one mummified foot at a time. It wasn't his fault; rain was the true culprit. Clouds followed his feet for years, poured whenever he tried to cut bread in the city of glass. His soles cracked, sprouted roots. Julia entertained on her balcony, levitated intimate secrets. People on Beaker Street attributed her faculties to a santero visiting her family on the day she was born. She stood tall and elegant like the mountains to the south of Pablo's home. Her face had all the traces of an unforgettable pain. Julia found the last bottle of rum hidden in the trash before the wedding. She bled her life into that gutter. Pablo was one mummified foot at a time closer to banging pots and starvation, orders from the dictator. They are gone, but I keep their marriage vows to read aloud on the day of the dead.

Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico
previously published in Yellow Medicine Review

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Where I Used to Live by Taylor Graham

I’d walk the ridgetop into sunrise,
surprise overnight cobwebs, gold-filament
woven in black-oak.
Evenings I’d hike to a manzanita clearing
and climb the boulder overlooking
canyon, bedrock mortar slipping
to sleep above a nameless creek.

I’d listen for the spirits of the people
who lived there and moved away.

In this new place, how do I find sunrise
under Stone Mountain? Daylight
strikes on chert, not granite. Sun sets
out of sight. No canyon overlook;
a winter creek washes out the fences.
Spotted towhees flit in and out of windfall
from the last big storm.

People used to live here and call it home, and
then moved on. I listen for their spirits.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Oak by Gill McEvoy

As she polishes and buffs the grain,
the golden wood, the strong fine lines,

she almost hears its yellow leaves
mutter in an autumn wind:

growing beside a lake, an oak,
this table forming in its solid heart.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Finalizing Our Aged Property by Rae Spencer

The exhausted land reclaimed
Our fence-line
Time blanketed
Obscene barbs
With perfumed honeysuckle

A million twining flowers
With steely resolution
Wrested rusty strands
Toward the soil

A war of decades
Waged on a suspension bridge
Sagging posts and braided wire
Fatigued by the surprising weight
Of so many fragile vines

At last the posts cracked
In surrender
Gave up their substance
To termites and rain

And our boundaries
Crumbled into joyous ruin
Nothing left of fences
To say where we should end
And something else begin

Rae Spencer, Virginia, USA

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cultivating (Preserving) by Scott Edward Anderson

Dwelling as preserving
is cultivating.
Dwelling means knowing
what inhabits a place
and understanding that
which belongs to a place.

We cultivate what grows,
while building things
that don’t grow.
We seek the organic
in our own creations,
which are inorganic.

Imposing our will
on the landscape,
we can remove either
that which promotes capacity
or that which prevents capacity.

We are tenders of the garden,
we tend what needs tending
(heart or "langscape")
What we save remains—

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

i stitched my arms to my sleeve so’s by Blake Ellington Larson

i could wave my open heart in
mid-air above my hang’d head

i found a map i made from apples

the how-to-manifesto described
a secret box of postcards

i collected enough stardust to
whisper your name

i raced your camouflage melodies skyward

on full moons i’d
gather less magnetism

but i taught daffodils to bloom

and dried leaves in honor

of your passing ghost

Blake Ellington Larson, California, USA

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

October ‘08 by Russell Jaffe

In a dream, we flew. Our fingers
were out like needles, and we

drifted up as we looked at them.
Weeks ago, we stood in an apple

orchard and condemned that city from
which we couldn’t afford to leave,

I climbed in my nice shoes and the
wet bark scraped and marked my

pants and purple sweater. As you smiled
big up at me, I tossed the apples down

and you caught them, smiling and wincing,
the tiny marks around your eyes disappearing

under the fat, green apples that padded the ground
like cork hitting a plaster wall. You asked me:

what if I had to take a bite from every apple in
the orchard?

You chewed an apple loudly.
The orchard went until

the forest abruptly stopped it, and the hills
of New York went off until they were smoky

and gone. All those trees had all the apples.
We came across rows of peppers growing

and, looking down at them, I pointed spiky
and told you what kinds of peppers they were.

The rows led right up to the apples on the ground
and in the trees, and you smiled and walked,

and I hated that I had to pay for all this.
The air had just the right bite to it.

I can’t even imagine those apples,
emergency red and green as the outskirts of a bruise,

the orchard itself: the number, the amount, is imaginative and lofty.
None of us can even imagine how deep we’re in

Russell Jaffe, Iowa, USA

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Flightpaths - 1913 by Dick Jones

The strangest of times: a skein of geese
crossing the bedroom window, heading west
and no body of water within seven miles.

I am playing the pagan - lying late amongst
the Sunday morning bells.

Heaven is a cloudless sky
in late September, harvest past,
leaves on the turn.

At first I think I hear the binder,
wheels beating, turning at the headrow,
but the fields are bare.

Such a beating, a clattering.
More geese searching for a lake
in this land of furrows? Or
the rector in his Wolsely
come to seek me out?

And then my window darkens
into the shape of wings, jagged wings –
Weston mill uprooted, reeling across the fields?
Certainly a hurricane of sorts in the throat of this beast
squatting low over the beeches,
dabbling its feet in leaves, roaring
in a black updraft of rooks.

An aeroplane, fearful in the untried air –
nothing like the rising bird
it mocks, This is a man,
dressed in wire and canvas,
climbing out of the long grass.
This is a godless man ascending,
out of the dust, towards the light.

Dick Jones, UK

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

The Elephant Who Could Have Been Pink is destroyed in a First Grade Classroom by Taryn Spencer

I didn’t have a grey crayon


I could not envision


In their bodies
They live


Through flourished

They stomp
Olive plains
In herds

Amongst mangy hyenas
Amongst curious jaguars

While cultivating thoughts Of cooling
Sweaty trunks in magical waters-

In between a world of Colorful lives hued in blues and greens-
Shunning jungle disputes and dull human beings

As for you

Depriving me of a creative moment
Of a haunting vision that danced
In my head

Like ballroom girls
In the midst of Eden.

Taryn Spencer

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A Letter to the First Graders of 2100 by Kasandra Larsen

In Yosemite National Park, we are saying goodbye to the oldest and largest trees;
they must be gone by now. This was a protected place, meaning the vanishing
of branches happened slower. Once upon a time, America was beautiful, blanketed

in green, ripe for harvest because everywhere is virgin territory if you draw the map
yourself. That's what our ancestors thought as they chopped, burnt, built their houses,
made this paper. That was the beginning. Worse came later. At first we were

industrious, not fat. We invented improvements to horses and feet, upgraded to sleek
and shiny cars that idled for hours every year on flat black landscapes, highways
with tiny pines shoved off to the side. Innocents who inherited the earth, still young,

still meek, have you been to the graveyards, hangars full of big tin cans with wings
that flew us almost everywhere we wanted? We never did find new planets with plenty
of trees. Light bulbs were fired by electricity from plants burning coal. Even our

impressive architecture emitted carbon dioxide. Every city had a bunch of Burger
Kings, McDonald's; we raised thousands of heads of cattle for their supply, grew
abundances of rice, blew methane kisses to what we thought was an endless sky.

Kasandra Larsen, New Orleans, USA

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Retrograde by Michael Carychao

Ovens, refridgerators, washers and dryers,
dishwashers, microwaves, tv's and cars,
computers, phones, stereos, remotes and speakers
buzzed, fumed and lurched,
fell and never got up.

We looked to each other and saw our ancestors
pushing sleeves over elbows,
planting feet, tilting shoulders,
thinking of seasons
and laughing at clouds.

Michael Carychao

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Construction Site by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt

The sky has finally lost its mind,
wind lashing out at our sin.
There are not enough trees
to hold back the dust we
have birthed with our earth
moving mothers, no cord
or tube or pipeline to breathe
for us, connect us, to feed
us anything other than sand
from their steel and muddied
breasts. There is no air in this storm.

The golden eye of lightening glares down
upon enemy us, while dirt from undressed
ground grits over our pupils, our streets,
our houses, our eyelids. We remember a time

we used to complain, write to leaders, hold signs
in the narrow streets, but our justified revile
is paved over, our words chucked into landfills,
our yards track-marked into caustic lime.
Our throats have been sanded to silence.

There is not enough left for us all.
There is nothing we can say to the sky.
But there is plenty of sand in the world,
enough to dust us away.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt, Virginia, USA

Friday, 10 September 2010

Answering the Question by George Bishop

I was thinking
of the lizard walking
on water in the pool,
how it can dash across
a mirror or scale a wall—
yet, it couldn’t find a way
out this sky-blue cell.
There it was, doomed
to die while I watched.
Of course, my friend
wouldn’t let that happen
and neither would I—
she performed the rescue,
setting it free to live out
whatever was left of its tiny,
prehistoric life. Returning
to what she asked,
if I believed in the afterlife,
I said yes, without life.
I heard someone call it
The Hereafter somewhere
and something inside nodded
its bare, inside head.
She told me they were just words
and that it was either
the water or the rat terrier.
I hadn’t noticed the dog,
just the lizard and how
deceptively clear it can be
to touch two surfaces
at the same time.

George Bishop, Florida, USA

Monday, 6 September 2010

Outside by Chris Crittenden

pain melts
into the yellow of the sun.
the birds, too, are flames
and grass in the wind
supple wicks.

everywhere movement.
branches bob like cello bows.
wind hums across lindens
as if waking bassoons.

meadow golds
blur into festivals that could be.
the sky blooms into bees and flits,
each humming a line
in a polyglot play.

tragedies come and go.
romances upend.
what we thought were last acts
prove the dearest creations.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Friday, 3 September 2010

Red Deer by Gordon Mason

Red deer graze
the Jackson mere,
cinnamon aftertones
on slow waves
of midday light.

Velvet damp, a stag
raises his head.
His twin,
a debarked willow,
stands stiff jointed.

On the wrong side
of the thyme tracks,
he turns to face a storm
that will wash
into September ditches.

As if startled
by a sudden snail,
he strides a slow ballet
into the wings,
reed curtains.

Gordon Mason, Scotland and Spain

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

End of Summer by Bonnie McClellan

Clouds, flat-bottomed as an iron skillet
slapped down on the range-top of this broad sky,
speak bluntly of rain.
The ground cracks, mud-dry
from summer’s grinding hot whisper that yet
sows blankets of saffron dust and disquiet.
Thunder grumbles, snapping out lighting, wry-
necked and surly as an old dog, denied
his usual dark-cool-under-porch billet.

In just such weather I stand, face turned up.
Stupid as a sheep in the rain, eyes and mouth
full of water, ripped down from the fractured
black belly of the storm. Immobile and enraptured
by the grey drops’ wet weight of broken drought,
dead-end of August overflows my hands’ cup.

Bonnie McClellan, Italy

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Spyglass by Clyde Kessler

Midge Burley waded Hackle Creek.
She heard a stray wren singing ivies
to the water. She watched a madtom
creasing into mud. If her children
could own the land that Ezra gambled
away, she’d plant fifty-three flowers
for his ghost, so her kids might learn
lilacs from hobble-weeds, might fit
the stars to their own winter hills.

The wren sang as if scaled into wood
and Midge found it all shadowed in a lens,
an old uncle’s spyglass staring at nothing.
She told the wren, sing and let the earth be,
steal into the sunset, and leave all the earth.
She whistled its song back to the wren,
and burbled the song down to the fishes
as if a ghost there might baptize itself singing.

Clyde Kessler, Virginia, USA

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

California Summer by Michael Lee Johnson

Coastal warm breeze
off Santa Monica, California
the sun turns salt
shaker upside down
and it rains white smog, humid mist.
No thunder, no lightening,
nothing else to do
except sashay
forward into liquid
and swim
into eternal days
like this.

(previously published on Talon Mag)

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Sunday, 22 August 2010

surreal lilies. arbitrary boundaries by Marcia Arrieta

streets of birds & lemon trees easels & silences
betrayals. illusion's fragments
where the blue reaches sun
seeking clues. but the air is to wander

fall through the spaces
breathing the scent of lemons the light of branches
among moments downfalls
miracles mirrors reflections

Marcia Arrieta, CA, USA

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Subterranean Adagio by Denis Robillard

Ants perform a subterranean adagio
galaxies of blood burn inside you
night traffic flounders into an aural mess
a conveyor belt of easy amnesia
trees rustle like a leafy woman
adjusting her bangles.
Crickets play their sad black guitars
this late August night
here on the pavement
my shadow looms larger across this parking lot
looking for a better cell connection.
I said a better cell connection.

Denis Robillard, Canada

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Wolf Spider by Judith Skillman

It comes with the smell of water in the desert
of summer. August, and everything rust-colored.

It is only a myth told by the grown-ups to scare you
into eating a dish too rich for your flat stomach.

Then again, how quickly the arachnid disappears
beneath the siding of your childhood house.

As if it knew you meant some kind of harm. You’d set
an opaque vase over it while screaming curses.

You’d hide the over-done despotic fur legs.
Just the edge of this phobia makes the skin on your forearm crawl.

You would claw your scalp until it bled
to remove the demon that nests in your just-washed hair.

Judith Skillman, Washington, USA

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

When the World Was Kind by Christy Effinger

As the morning melted into afternoon,
translucent with summer light,
our neighbor’s plane roared on the grass runway,
then rose above the woods where we watched
trains pass and hunted toads.

At the sound of the small plane,
we danced and waved across the pasture
pungent with wild onion,
while mad crawdads scaled their mud turrets.

Then came a burst of orange silk in the sky—
and another, and another, like bright webs
floating to earth from a magic spider,
invaders from the world of clouds and stars.

We caught two of the tiny parachutes
and wrestled a sycamore for the other.
Beneath the umbrellas hung paper sacks,
knotted and filled with candy:
lemon heads, fireballs, chocolate, gum.

With our telescope that night
we counted constellations,
slightly out of focus in the cosmic sea,
blurred like fireflies in a blue glass jar.

After finding the man in the moon,
we said our prayers with the whip-poor-will
while crickets competed with tree frogs
in rhythms of nocturnal noise.

Back then their songs made sense
to our young and sunburned ears,
for all of us spoke the same language.
We still understood the voice in the wind,
and believed in the wisdom of owls.

Christy Effinger, Indiana, USA

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Night Voices by Jan Harris

As evening blurs the edges of the day
I hold your words against the candle flame
and watch them dance like moths

see how the colours fade with the light
from blue to grey and then to black
until shape and form are all that remain.

They flutter away when I try to catch them –
did you really say goodbye? See, they settle
in a different order – you said you would stay forever.

I can name you more clearly in the dark;
the light from the furthest star returns our past
and in the silence I hear the thoughts behind your words.

Here, I will whisper them back to you
before morning dazzles us with its brilliance.

Jan Harris, UK

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Holding Hands as She Exhales by Paul Squires

just before she dies
after three days at the hands
of u.s. trained torturers acting
for u.s. backed dictators
in the utter darkness of
one of Pinochet’s prisons
and the child inside of her
dies too…

perhaps there is a moment
where she is still alive and
the pain has stopped
long enough for her
to draw one breath
and she will realise
that she is not alone
nor forgotten,

,of course, that happened long ago
in not your country
to someone not you
and you were not there

so you may remain calm
and unaffected and believe
that this is just a poem
and not a holding of hands.

Paul Squires, Australia

(I was shocked to hear that Paul died on 28 July after an accidental fall. He was 46. In memory of a talented poet and entertaining blogger I'm reposting this poem of his which I first published here on 18 October 2007. )

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Shine by M P Powers

poetry at its best
is music without instruments
the world

peace is death made wise

but poets
aren't borne of peace

they are borne

M P Powers, Florida, USA

Sunday, 25 July 2010

In Beauty by David Chorlton

A scar runs along the high rocks where the wind
turned back toward the other time
when people who once lived here doused
their fires and swept into baskets
the last of the beans they had picked
from mesquite trees and ground to a floury sweetness
then set out for that world
of which they knew little beyond
its scent of rain which carried
on the air all the way across the valley
they could see from this mountain when they stood
near the top having climbed
for one final look and nobody knows
because nobody left word
whether they were glad to leave or whether
they didn’t care about the view
which may have meant nothing to them
for all we know as we stare
at the peak and call it beautiful as we do
when we want nothing from a thing
but the promise that we shall see it again.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Wormwood by Russell Streur

They killed the Tree of Knowledge
Poured a shire full of poison on its roots
Killed the ghost gum too
And I am walking on that street in Barcaldine
And the aspen stands are dying in the high country
And the hickory in the low
And I am walking in the forests of Quebec
Where sugar maples used to rise
And the elms are dying in the north
And the hemlock in the south
And I am walking in Croatia
Where the spruce are dying on the slopes
And the lodgepoles on the coast
And I am walking in the rust
In moth and bore and salt
Where graves replace the groves
And brittle bones of wilted dryads blow
Autumn leaves in spring
From withered copse to seedless curb
On the avenue of dead trees:

They nailed Pan last night
With seven stakes
Of birches through his heart
Raped Diana in the orchard Lass o' Gowrie
Hung up Hecate from a willow limb
Buried Odin with the oak
Blew the stump to Kingdom Come
With a Ryder full of acid rain
And poor man’s TNT
While scarlet priests in drive-by sheets
Whispered highland rosaries
Peddling holy hills and sacred roots
To grinning whores on grassy knolls
For Wal-Mart stores and interstates
Our fate to never see the gallows in this forestry
Crown triumphant
Concrete steel glass and noise
Our final kings—
Now is the hour
Wormwood sings.

Russell Streur, Georgia, USA

Monday, 19 July 2010

the mysterious by Marcia Arrieta

eagles & einstein. the relation of light to the door. to the mind.
creations beyond. in sync/out of sync. the pencil is the forest.
the hand barely discernable. can you explain the candle?
rivers & labyrinths. the raindrops hit the snow.
faraway in the land of imaginary all is calm. we learn of symbols.
symbol the man. symbol the woman. all in the name of meaning.
all in the name of understanding. the mountain in the distance.

Marcia Arrieta, CA, USA

Friday, 16 July 2010


Begin with first word and said word only;
uncover the second, third, fourth, etc.,
after thoroughly digesting one, two, and three’s relationship,
until you enter the naked shower
of language before you even know it.

The filthy pelican, for instance, forms multiple relationships
between filthy and pelican
long before the Falangist brain
insists upon conceptualizing everything
according to convenient myths seventeen words later.

You’re already inside the poem,
drifting or suffering through star-nosed tunnels
of the lexicon, anyway!

At least you’ve burrowed deep inside the poem
for one glorious moment, one subatomic breath,
one astrophysical strand
of String Theory left over
from yesterday’s visit to the local oncologist.

Alan Britt, Maryland, USA

Monday, 12 July 2010

Story Book by J.S. Watts

I was trying to read a book
When you came along and insisted
That I read you instead.
You were forceful in your persuasions;
Insinuating yourself between me
And the page, like a fur clad bookmark.
Tail in my face and the buzz of your voice
Creeping through my head
As you crept across my pages,
Ruffling thoughts and paper alike
To the point of distraction.
How could I ignore you ?
Such a perfect edition and so responsive
Beneath my fingers. You are better
Than a story in braille.
Through you I can read of summer fields,
The smelled taste of daisies and buttercups,
Nose high grass and the heat of the sun
On day-warmed fur; the drowsiness
Of a warm room and a comfortable lap.
There is nothing better than
Curling up on a good book.

J S Watts, East Anglia, UK

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Jaguar Truth by David Chorlton

In a gap between the wind and the light
on the grasslands a jaguar
appears with all his liquid muscles
flowing underneath a coat
of spotted fire.
He is a reflection

without water to carry it.
When he leaps he is so fast he passes
through the beholder’s eye
and lands in the mind
where his image claws a way
to a refuge. He is safe in a person’s memory,

wild among the rocks
and in the shadows there
where time and water run in the same
arroyos, and where walls sink
into the land as quickly as they are built
along borders intended

to keep people apart. A jaguar’s memory
is beyond the reach of anyone;
it is a wilderness
of scents only he can receive.
It is what we imagine when we imagine truth
and cannot find a human word for it.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Taken by Chris Crittenden

spider was wearing
the slate-butter-black of the spruce,
flecked and striped just so.
she could have been a perch
of small twigs,
or a lichen smudge,
or a cradled down tuft.
her halo was leaf light
filtered to dapple
in the way that tigers
marry with vines.

sun-rich as seraphim,
orbited with erratic grace,
seeming to teleport and tease.
he plucked her lair
as if tuning a harp, lured
by the promise
of its fluctuant jewels.
until one strum
rippled forth a harsh shimmer,
and added to the music
a broken whine.

Chris Crittenden, USA

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Music Man by Matthew Wanniski

“You don’t have to look,” he says,
“Just listen.” And we do—
His melodies soothe like a balm, or thunder
Like the passage of a thousand stallions.
We are transported to the apex of joy
Or are buried in valleys of sorrow.
The music slips through the cracks
Of our disregard, a furtive, velvet-soled thief
Unlocking all the doors from the inside.

This is how we picture him,
In our warm and cozy homes—
A romantic hero of legend, a troubadour bold.
Not this disheveled wretch,
This slumping, loose-limbed pauper with one shoe
Carrying his life slowly, like a snail, on his back.

If you were to ask him, he would say
“My music is my mansion—
Seek me there if you must.
There are many rooms, and I do enjoy the company.”

Who was this man? (Who is he now?)
This gatekeeper of our morning commute—
What right does he have to be here,
Dragging a stick of horsehair across trembling strings
As if they were our hearts?

When he is gone and the music stops,
Tell me, who is homeless then?

Matthew Wanniski, Los Angeles, USA

Sunday, 27 June 2010

An Impossible Affair by Penny Smith

Ripples spread across the silent surface
of the day, and disappear into infinity;
their subtle vibrations touch my heartstrings,
which resonate and sing with music.

But a cocoon of family wraps you close
and keeps us in separate, secret worlds,
where time stops and starts only to order.
Meanwhile, in a place of time out of time,

our intertwined beings create
their own universe of surreal reality,
where edges blur and the core melds
our two selves into one complete whole.

Penny Smith, Havant, UK

Monday, 21 June 2010

Simmerdim by Nat Hall

we have aligned to sun & moon,
.........what does it mean to the shalder?

bright calishang,

cockiloorie instead of ice,
linties & waap,
feverish song of the blackbird,
wings slashing through a lavish sky,
patchworks of matrimonial cotton grass
where men and birds share same hillsides, where peat turns into pyramids.

ever ending,
over-saturated sense of life –
flick of feathers, twisting below this industrious horizon,
fishermen, birds, as if tradition never dies…
that perpetual canvas of blue in defiance to hands of time,
like a gigantic bonfire, we look through the eye of the sun.

Nat Hall, Shetland, UK

Poet’s notes on Shetlan wirds:

simmerdim = nightless sky associated with the summer solstice
shalder = oystercatcher
calishang = boisterous commotion
cockiloorie = daisy
linties = twites
waap = curlew

Saturday, 19 June 2010

In Plight by Rachel Kalyna

Pull the shorebird
from its home; notice:
Pelican has a battleship
in his throat. It is bitter
and absurd.
He wants to sink
below the tin-rain, spit
torpedoes at barracuda,
sip its fresh salt again.
The risk of madness will fray
brown pin-feathers.
Pelican does not comprehend
an unfamiliar hue.
He does not feel the ocean
beyond battery weight
and whale bone,
erosion and decay.
Only the shifting fever-wave
can polish his name.
Pelican is a maelstrom
of mistake, with metal toes
tipped for navigation.
Magnetic North,
petrified; too fixed upon
passing. The tanker
has elapsed degree,
enough spin.
Siphon, pipe and blow
the horizon back
several more miles
before inspection.
Pelican cannot count how
many days have gone.
He will forget and dive
one last time. Below the slick,
deeper still, to find another way.

Rachel Kalyna, Atlanta, GA, USA

Friday, 11 June 2010

Swans by Robert Demaree

The swans glide quietly by:
Do they know that turtles
Lurk below the rippled
Brown-green surface?
Does anyone know
What will happen next?
The bench by the pond,
It comes to me now,
Is where we would pause
To rest,
My mother and I,
Easing her wheelchair down the path,
On late spring afternoons at Golden Pines,
Twenty years ago,
Watching other swans.

Robert Demaree, USA

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sun tears by Alison Ross

The sea bows in prayer to the sun,
then shrinks back into the temple
of itself.

I drink in the solitude of the sea,
its dark wine filling me with the ecstasy
of emptiness.

But the sea is restless with nightmares.
It fears it will awaken a desert:
the corpse of an ocean
bled dry by the sun.

Tomorrow I will have nightmares
that I am drowning
inside the sun.
I dissolve into haloes,
and breathe.

I awaken, and hear god’s voice
trapped inside a stone,
from its center of silence.

And I cry,
weeping tears of an ocean
bled dry.

Alison Ross, Atlanta, USA

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Plume by Rae Spencer

The seabed disgorged its hoarded store
Of compressed ages, liquefied ore of fossil
Climes tapped by the drill and pipe
Toxic artery braced open, uncapped history

Spewing toward this current delicate
Shore, this frail balance in air that spoils
What earth and time preserve, sifted
Over with sand and ash, crusted

With stone, ruins of bone recorded
And lost beneath layers of investigation
Which quarry for the line that leads
Back, the shale trail to before

Blossoming plume of rune and tale, raw
Mix adrift, dangerous slick atop the waves
Tempting prism of our past set aflame
By cryptic sparks of scholarly interpretation.

Rae Spencer, Virginia, USA

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Approbations 212 by Felino Soriano

—after Dexter Gordon’s Don’t Explain

A whisper untangles,
as if each worded infant
crawls toward relevant freedom.
The dark is outward, a mother’s
hold, violently in love
until aged enough, child,
roams into existential awareness,

A local voice, dreaming portion
resting—holding onto juxtaposed
concepts: bury, run, the irony
alive burns trails but
bruises only half of a loving,
distant expedition.

Felino Soriano, California, USA

Friday, 28 May 2010

Leviathan by Amanda Joy

The whale that invented me is dying
The rescuers are unable to rescue him
and resign themselves to allow nature its course
and I wonder at that map
its invisible design where
..............................................we follow
...........,......................................................or are taken

the rocking, lulling eye so small
in the lolling bulk of blubber
too large to thrash, too moored to its own weight
Rolled again and again against the beach
until the flesh is sanded down to pink
the colour of my flesh
a crowd has gathered at the crashing edge to see
what it is to be an animal close to death

Seven tonnes heroically proportioned
If we had met on the water
if he surfaced and I hovered above the waves
would he have accepted me as his
creation or swallowed me as Zeus swallowed Metis

Now though he is dying and so I will not take my lantern
and my packed lunch
.................climb through the balein to the cave of his belly
I will not be reborn through this

Amanda Joy, Australia

Monday, 24 May 2010

Oil Spill by Justin Wade Thompson

there was an oil spill
in the Gulf of Mexico
and some counties in Florida
had been considered
to be in a state of emergency

my mother-in-law lives in Saint
Petersburg. my wife calls
it St. Pete

drives crazy

but i guess St. Pete wasn't affected.

my wife went back to sleep

slept until noon, in fact,
we'd stayed up late
watching medical dramas

not much else
to watch on the old tube

and i guess TVs don't have tubes
in them anymore
but we still call them that

hell, even the little TVs on the
internet are called tubes, right?

i wonder if they've got coverage
of the oil spill

black oil, bird soup
and dying flamingos stuck to dead stingrays and
all other sorts of carnage and death.

they cover it all, these days

every second every minute every hour on the hour

satellites stuck in the
black oil of space
screaming S.O.S. to the blue sky and sea

i trust the mother-in-law is well.

Justin Wade Thompson, Texas, USA

Monday, 17 May 2010

Phoenix by Russ Kazmierczak

the welder
wields lightning

a defibrillator
pressed against the city's chest

she spasms
it's working

she's coming out of the dark

passers-by stop in awe
as she rises


still flying

Russ Kazmierczak, USA

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Piebald by Chris Crittenden

gyre of swifts
tangled in dizzy swoops
of black and white,

as aerial Celtic knots,
zestful as hummingbirds
beguiled by noon.

lust elates
their little chests,
makes them weave
like gears of a magic clock

until many of them
and the rest stream away,
leaving no signature.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Friday, 7 May 2010

Every time I see Swifts by Matthew Friday

I look up and fly with them. I am
up there, swarming and swerving,
screaming in delight. I am part-air,
part-sea: wind and waves wash through
me. I am a traveler who comes home.
I am light and free.
...................................................................I am swift.

Matthew Friday, UK

Friday, 30 April 2010

Old Haunts by Jay Coral

Every year
two lovers meet
before the birdhouse
and peek through the hole
to examine twigs, droppings and eggshells
and not to their surprise
they always find an empty house
as if their leaving is consensual
and then they talk (always have)
about how sweet the air is that day.

Jay Coral, Los Angeles, California, USA

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I Found You Sleeping by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I found you sleeping in
my fevered dreams. We
were no longer apart.
I tried to wake you. In
your dream you were at
sea and I was drowning.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, CA, USA

Friday, 23 April 2010

*Runningwritten moon* by Brad Frederiksen

If there was no internet
I would runningwrite you
a crescent moon with negligee.jpg

I’d fold it near the bottom
and I’d fold it near the top
into a little runningwritten
circle envelope.

Upon a piece of stretchie string
invisible but true
I would fly my runningwritten crescent moon
across the sky to you.

It would spill in through your window
and light upon your hair
with all my runningwritten love.jpg
for you.

Brad Fredericksen, Sydney, Australia

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Ode to an Oaken Desk by Taylor Graham

They drove two hours in the rain for a bargain.
Solid oak that keeps, without polish, its sheen,
its fingerprint of living tree-grain under a tarp
on the porch. No room in this new house.

They came from a Green Valley with a parrot
singing in its cage. She loved that we, too,
live in a Green Valley. Her husband read no law
of physics or fortune in coincidence of names.

Stars hid behind stormclouds, downpour
on the way. Just in time, the desk
fit perfectly in their Odyssey SUV.
Serendipity, parrot singing an epic voyage.

From Green Valley to Green Valley
across a hundred miles of asphalt,
how many poems may yet leaf out
of this milled, transplanted oak?

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Friday, 16 April 2010

my cathedral by Karen S. Nowviskie

my cathedral, green
butresses a deep blue southern sky

my cardinal, red
sings hymns that raise

a host of finches, gold

Karen S Nowviskie, West Virginia, USA

Monday, 12 April 2010

Angel by Amir Elzeni

Too many words
when I only need one,

even the right look now
saves me,

don't lose me trapped
in life,

I know about your

Amir Elzeni, USA

Friday, 9 April 2010

Ants by Amanda Joy

I feel we communicate

like ants.

Tasting the air
with our antennae.

Tapping each others
hard heads,

Then off we scurry
In different directions

in search of food.

Amanda Joy, Australia

Monday, 5 April 2010

The City by Emily Smith

The city reeks of loneliness and regret
(OK, I’m lying about that – it stinks
of cigarette smoke and stale urine,
but it lingers just the same).

Trains pass on the line and the fish-
eyed man stares at me through glass
and I can’t figure out if it’s me or him
who is living in the goldfish bowl.

The paint is peeling on the walls
that face the train line, and the city
tastes like sorrow. Nothing lasts.

I am counting minutes between trains
and counting months between lovers.
Trains pass on the line and it is quiet,
there are words but no-one listens.

The city tastes of loneliness and regret
and stale cigarette smoke that fills
this goldfish bowl and maybe I should
stop, and maybe I should listen.

Emily Smith, East Anglia, UK

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Suicide Lane by Mather Schneider

Yesterday I was walking down the sidewalk
and at the corner of Dodge and Grant
there was this young blind girl,
one arm full of books,
the other holding the leash
of a seeing-eye dog.
They were walking slowly toward me.
Grant road was busy as hell
stinking and crying with rush hour.
The horns blared in the no-man’s land
of the only suicide-lane left in the city.
The seeing-eye dog didn’t know
what the hell was going on,
it must have been his first day on the job
because he was darting all over the
place, and the girl kept yanking
the leash and cursing.
When we came closer to each other
the dog veered at me
across her path
with his tongue hanging out and a big dumb
smile on his face.
“God DAMMIT!” the girl cursed,
“HEEL! ”
The dog didn’t seem to mind
being choked back
because in the next instant he was focused
on the redolent and wild joy
of a hamburger napkin
blowing feral in the cars’ crosswinds.

Mather Schneider, Arizona, USA

Monday, 29 March 2010

it occurred to her by Regina C J Green

a small hand finds a pair of glasses

and there's a wayward shoe next to
a ribbon of early light bending its way
across a dark carpeted floor

a yawn is stifled along with the realization
that waking up next to someone can either be
a blessing or a curse

she considered asking for directions to the front door
but that would mean disturbing the sure-footed peace
that settled in next to her

she was here
she would be again tomorrow
the alarm would go off
just as it always did

she would wait for that

Regina C J Green, USA

Friday, 26 March 2010

LOST GLASSES by Howie Good

Why hope someone finds them,
steel-framed, plum-colored,

or regret you can’t make out
street signs without them,

why not consider yourself
freed from the necessity,

the situation as you know it
turning back into shadows,

and the shadows into gunmen
in topcoats and derbies.

Howie Good, USA

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

False Spring by Robert Demaree

Flowering fruit trees, cherries and pears,
After a false spring and late March frost:
Blossoms a dingy pink and white
Against a cold sky the color of dishwater
And woods still gray with winter.
I pass an abandoned convenience store,
With plywood windows like bandaged eyes,
Its solitary pump a sentinel
By the side of the road,
A sign, among many, of things,
Like some people’s marriages,
Which had offered promise
But didn’t work out.

Robert Demaree, NH, USA

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Spring Light on Bressay by Nat Hall

beam of change,
as if low cloud lost a battle,
grey of the ghost looks so aghast,
it’s got to shift, shoooooo through the shaft –
shackled to the ship of winter…
Shambolic as rollers & tides,
tired of lingering so long onto our hills & TV masts,
ointing every call of shalders, sleeping petals inside sepals.

Bio-rhythm in equinox,
as sun & moon rock onto scales,
through my window on the fourth floor,
I imagine earthly contours, familiar shapes freed from sky lace
and feel water filling our Sound, pull of our faithful satellite –
blue overwashing bridal dress, fresh epidermis of her skin,
eager to unveil to a sun her every charm through sighs & dreams.

on the wings of each black back,
it is written.

Nat Hall, Shetland, UK

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

An Abandoned Hour by Gareth Trew

Today, I dropped an hour
by the side of a busy road.

I did not pause to reconsider
but simply left it lying there,
abandoned amongst butts, crushed cans
and spat-out wads of gum.

Later – through the evening news – I learned
that my hour had been found and used.

A young boy – an aspiring
traffic-window-washer –
had spotted it, pocketed it
and spent it straight away.

An extra hour in his day
and he'd bested fate; defied
his high-stacked odds.

He smiled widely, but his grateful face
held great contempt as well: for me.

I sat, unmoving,
no longer watching,
but musing on my hour, gone;

wondering – shamefacedly –
with it, what could I have done?

Gareth Trew

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Train of Thought by Claire Smith

What are we, if we have not the eyes to see?
The god of progress has brought us to our knees.
As beings, have we forgotten how to be?

As we rage with glass and steel velocity
The mad-dark crows do battle in the trees,
What are we, if we have not the eyes to see?

The kingly pheasant in the rutted field is free,
When we have the jangling furies to appease.
As beings, have we forgotten how to be?

A cell-phone taps a stale soliloquy
As gondola swans are drifting on the Tees,
What are we, if we have not the eyes to see?

Hermetically sealed in dry-eyed mediocrity
As a sheepdog bristles and a fox, diagonal, flees.
As beings, have we forgotten how to be?

That scudding bracken-colour, the sheer intensity
Of breakneck, life-in-the-fast-lane ease!
What are we, if we have not the eyes to see?

As beings, have we forgotten how to be?

Claire Smith, North East England.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Making their Point by Stephen Jarrell Williams

birds chirping and darting
tree to tree,

diving into the backyard
like little speed planes
on an obvious mission,

house to house
over our redundant fences.

Stephen Jarrell Williams, California, USA

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Listening to the Symphony by Joanna Ezekiel

(for Pat)

Against an elastic sky
a rainbow curves
the notes bloom into prisms

each rest quivers with light

the notes bloom into prisms
a rainbow curves
against an elastic sky

Joanna Ezekiel, UK

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Flight Dream by Chris Crittenden

slide along the curves of the sky,
effortless and smooth,
until you meet a cloud and bounce,

soaring back toward the highest seat,
laughter your wings,
to sit where all things can be seen,

the Earth a paisley
of blue-green hyacinths,
the sun a jewel on your chest.

the clouds come to you
like sheep on a ledge
that turn into silver coins and fall;

all life below riotous with color,
reaching up with eager stalks
to celebrate.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Monday, 1 March 2010

Redemption by Chris Alba

The morning after the great storm
as broken branches litter the battlefield of lawn

a titmouse finds the birdbath
brimming with stormwater

and all sorrows cease
as it bathes.

Chris Alba, California, USA

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Donations by Christie Isler

He who wields the needle slides it
easily through a pock marked field
underlaid by rivers, eerie
blue, when what divulges isn’t.
The illusion of chemistry
trapped beneath my transparent skin.

I don’t know if my reptile
mind understands the leak, but it’s
wary of the warm snake draped
across my arm. Even without
looking, I feel it’s alive. The
temperature against my skin
throbs in that narrow span between
inanimate and fever heat:
a captured mammal, infant hand, hot
breath on skin. It is life
imprisoned in an external artery.

Pinned by the needle, I gaze up.
Rain lands on the skylight, runs in
rivulets with other drops, to
roof, to gutter, eventually
to earth. As I watch, the fall
is not enough to fill a vase
for roses. White coats swim around
the room, checking that I hold my
heartbeat in my hand. I recall, George
Washington died this way, with
well-meaning leaches suckling his veins.

And I recall the bill for eight pints
of blood. You, pooled
ink red on the operating
theater floor. Eight pints of eight
lives pumped in to weigh you down, to
keep you here. I feel my leaving
softly, usher it with selfish
prayer for entry into someone
else’s lover, to keep him here.

Christie Isler, Washington, USA

Sunday, 21 February 2010

After the Feast by Emily Blewitt

The way you hoard mugs:
keep dregs for days

on half-drained, brimming surface space;
leave perfect rings on polished wood.

Or, how sleeping,
we lie cupped, tipped

hip to hip
in soft creased napkin folds.

How, pulse to pulse,
your pressed lips brush,

take warm sweet sips
in cooling heat, leave prints.

So like your unwashed cups
(heaped, held shoulder-high)

is how I gather, careful-clasped,
your thrown-on shirt,

your pale cool cheek,
its sunlit stubbled auburn shock:

how, piece by piece, half-dropped, at ease,
I stack collected, still, scraped clean.

Emily Blewitt, Cardiff, Wales

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Pho by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

How happy to be with a soup belly,
make careful sloshing steps.

To eat all the noodles with chopsticks,
eat beansprouts, flank. Which is delightful,

to eat soup without a spoon, tilting the bowl
up like an offering to the end of manners,

a bipod of your elbows on the table sliding
subtly, little circles, the gift of soup, that

and the need for a new shirt, napkins
to scrub my beard, the steam on my glasses

putting the world away, as if there is
no world I need besides what I’m holding,

and maybe what I’m now carrying inside me
is a big soup baby, oh Mary don’t be jealous,

you know how I feel.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg, CA, USA

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Cupid Knows His Job by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

an egg sushi in his mouth,
lots of wasabi.
He eats and eats and eats
anything Japanese.

next to a vase two tables away,
a girl with a composed face,
slowly sips her green tea.

if easy love exists,
the two strangers
will see each other
and subtly fall in spell.

give them three minutes,

and another three.
come on you stupid man!
here is a girl with sensual wet lips--
look at her
look at her
look at her

the observer is irritated.
then someone else -
(there is always a someone else)
walks to the girl and gestures humbleness,
like in a Shakespearean play.
she unbuttons her tight face
and welcomes the new girl.
I am in shock,

Cupid knows his job.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, London, UK

Previously published in Nth Position (September 2007)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Floating Gracefully by Amir Elzeni

I asked for a kiss,
beneath it all,
before the flower
blooms a heart,

love waters,

my eyes
were once
a holiday.

Amir Elzeni, USA

Monday, 8 February 2010

Voyage of Discovery by Penny Smith

Another box ; a dusty treasure trove
of keepsakes hoarded over many years:
a trinket: letter: token of old love
forgotten, washed away by gentle tears:

a photograph from childhood, long ago,
where memory's encapsulated shades
of black and white, now faded, serve to show
in frozen movement, little escapades

among imagined fantasies galore.
Oh, then, we could be masters of our fate,
before we knew what life may hold in store,
before we realised it's soon too late

to captain yet another ship, to sail
where calmer waters hopefully prevail.

Penny Smith, Havant, UK

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Prairie Castles by Mary Belardi Erickson

When climate change was yet chained, the frozen landscape
changelessly towered, a white fortress on the prairie.
We played to defy winter, shoveling into huge snowdrifts,
hollowing cold rooms--in which I can still sit
in the timeless portion of my mind.

Hardened snow banks are like rocks buffeting farm buildings:
by us transfigured into our medieval burgh,
its heavy doors opening to peasants—neighbor kids
tunneling for shelter from cold wind in our castle’s labyrinth
of rooms. Their shadows ripple on my skin,
thoughts of time’s lodgers.

In its kingdom, winter rules until spring breezily challenges
with a ruckus of black birds swarming expectant trees.
Robins watch for widening slots in cold’s receding walls.
Less an icy regal voice, in fly barn pigeons, mocking jesters
leaving dirt upon the quiet straw.

Mary Belardi Erickson, Minnesota, USA

Friday, 29 January 2010

Climate Change by Gill McEvoy

We will not go about our gardens
lifting the violet's head
to see the tiny orange teeth;

there will be no snowdrops
in blizzard in the spring;

we will not wander round
flicking the fresh rain
from the tender leaves.

We will learn to love cacti,
and stand back.

Gill McAvoy, UK

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Our New Washing Machine by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Exulting in our new washing machine,
which like poetry is ambiguous about
how much you can finally shove in.

Even earlier, eating preserved lemon slices,
read in bed and slope in my shirt,
under exquisitely clean sheets.

Mary says that is the fondest landscape
when you’re there in bed with me and
I say oh yeah well here’s a little earthquake,
here’s a little mess.

And there’s too many socks
they spill on the floor and they all make
mystical assertions you’d think they’d float
by themselves but all they evidence

is our short attention spans
and the amount of clothes to fold
while the washing machine
whirs and chirps like the dialtones
murmuring out of European telephones.

Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Gimme Fallout Shelter by Howie Good

The night was tricked out
in sequins, and why not

the moon in a fur-trimmed hood.
Ready? she said. She had

a voice like a lighted doorbell.
We both could remember a time

when grown-ups lived in fear
of the annual Soviet wheat harvest.

I uncovered my eyes.

Howie Good, New York, USA

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

The Dimmest Forest by Lee Stern

Let me walk in the dimmest forest without you,
unstringing the lights that you left on the pole.
Let me do this without wavering
and without making excuses
for the fact that I didn’t want to do it when it was dark.
And let me wear my best clothes when I’m doing this
so that people know that I wasn’t upset.
Let them think that when I put the lights in a different place,
a boardroom of people I happened upon made noises.
And then retreated, I think,
to a place they knew where it was no longer possible to discuss their
But where it was possible nonetheless to enjoy themselves
and to marry the sanctimony of their lawful tears
in one way or another, perhaps,
to the bulb that departed from the lasting socket of their shame.

Lee Stern, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Monday, 18 January 2010

…Until It’s Gone by Joseph Harker

After we’d dug down deep beneath the surface
of Alaskan untamed wilderness
or the heartbreaking cerulean of the Gulf
and harmattan-swept sands of Arabia,
sucking up our fill of light, sweet crude,

when the gas fields of Persia and Siberia
ran dry, and the plants fell quiet,
and the coal mines were empty shafts of granite
full of dust and the smell of men,
and the rivers whose water we stole
for the Kazakh steppe and the Sonoran sprawl
dried up behind the dams,

one day, when the fluorescent bulbs flickered out,
and the engines refused to fire,
when our computers switched off,
and the sprinklers slowed to a trickle,

we stood up as one

and we walked outside into the humid air,
blinking against the sudden sunlight,
saw the struggling trees and intrepid squirrels,
heard the interrogatives of sparrows
(instead of the whirr of central air
or the roar of SUVs in the street),

and as one, unsure what to do next,
for the first time in a long while,
we looked up into that sapphire sky
and saw just how big it really is.

Joseph Harker, USA

Friday, 15 January 2010

V by Jan Harris

honk their
way across
the blue sky in
perfect formation
as if they are spelling
a v-sign for nature. On
this too warm January day
when mankind has forgotten his way
omens are more comforting than science.
Jan Harris, UK

Monday, 11 January 2010

alice abandoned by Linda Schram-Williams

i have misjudged the ease of the fall
the tumble into the poet-hole
the rabbits have long abandoned..
you have a sky to watch, he remarked
a vantage point with which to
check out a galaxy’s latest dance..
your view is unmarred by the distraction
of the city’s light
it just might be
all the tug
you need…
and he

Linda Schram-Williams,

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Untitled by Alishya Almeida

will find me in disasters.
In the veins of your
sadness, the empty sky
blue, the memories
of black dresses and
the feeling of doom unfolding.
We could wash out this morning,
stay in bed, the world
will do without us.
I could be science,
the furniture of my thoughts
perhaps become a planet,
disguising my instability
by reflecting the light
you shed.

Alishya Almeida, Bangalore, India

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Fallen Niche of Apollo by Holly Day

Hand over hand up the side of the cliff
we grappled with the side of Olympus
no one sane had ever tried before, especially not
in the middle of winter. The world stretched around us
like Galileo’s Europa; we were a million miles from Earth
on our way to meet the gods.
Not even mountain goats disturbed the breathless
quiet—we passed a blocked-up cave that one man said
had once housed an oracle. I could picture
the crazy old man who had lived there, years
before Christ, brown arms wrapped around anemic knees
shaking, begging Apollo
for an end to the winter.

Holly Day, Minnesota, USA