Sunday 29 April 2007

It's Been a Rotten Millennium by Lisa Zaran

His absence makes my presence
in the world seem artless and obsolete.
I sift and sort through memories,
the scuttle of pigeons across my mind,
labor without delivery-
sweeping the broken floor
of my heart, convinced
somewhere I will find a remaining
piece of his love, a shard of glass
that I can use to cut myself.

Lisa Zaran, Arizona, USA

Friday 27 April 2007

Leroy and His Love Affair by Michael Lee Johnson

Girlie magazines dating back to 1972 are scattered across the floor.
The skeletons of two pet canaries lie dormant inside a wire cage.
Bessie Mae died 8 months ago.
From her lips, and from her eyes comes nothing like before.
Leroy, her lover and her only friend, the man she lived with for
over 30 years locked her body in their bedroom because he
didn’t want to part from her.
Leroy has no friends to detect anything that might be suspect.
He wants nothing between the two of them at all, and no one
comes near to interfere.
Their bedroom is padlocked, stale, stagnant with mildew, looking
the way it did before she died.
Foul odors ooze up through their bedroom ventilation ducts,
Leroy contends that a dead rat in the basement is causing the odors.
Leroy loves to lie about his sacred love affair.
Layers of dust blanket over the mahogany floors, and the maid doesn’t come
here anymore.
Bessie Mae’s remains are wrapped in a scarlet housecoat,
Dried blood sleeps in a small pool beneath her bed.
In time they both will sleep, sole witnesses to the fiasco
their lives will catch them in; enduring it, holding
their tongues till time matters no more.
Nothing appears changed, lovers unwilling to depart.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Bearing Us Away by Taylor Graham

Nothing is certain but death and
questions. How many of those
we wish to ask the newly departed –
the secrets they take with them,
all those things they tried to mention
when we weren’t listening.
How my sister loved horses, and I
could only hear hoofbeats
beneath me. How the earth rings now,
metal making divots in soil
under the reverberating grass.

Taylor Graham, California, USA.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Hoping by Christine Bruness

His white dress shirt
I washed and ironed
after his father's funeral
stayed on a hanger
in the cellar
for weeks on end...
I finally entombed it
in the back
of his closet
he won't need
it again
any time soon.

Christine Bruness, NJ, USA

Sunday 22 April 2007

Dependent by Chris Major

In barely
six and a half
months it's just
'fix' to 'fix'.
Of course supply
'round here is
no problem.
Day and night
curled and motionless,
woken by withdrawal
or the shouts
and screams
which penetrate
thin walls.

Eventually hospital;
Being told
that i'm
"a little baby boy......"

Chris Major, Staffordshire, UK

Friday 20 April 2007

From Toronto To Ottawa by Michael Lee Johnson

She comes,
and she goes,
She walks,
and she talks,
to no one.
Her night is
the long city street
sheltered & protected by neon.
She amuses
& she entertains,
swaying her slender body,
…but no one offers,
& she shouts out

for no reward.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Thursday 19 April 2007

Cinderella's Mother Explains by Kirsten Anderson

You need to know that it was
Lack of spirit that killed me,
Why I left life so soon.
From my place near the tree
I sorrowed to see her abused,
Ash-smeared and head low
Spirits falling onto the hearth.
So I sent forth my soul pieces,
Remnants of lost dreams:
A silver dress pearled,
A pair of glass gold-heels,
Pumpkins coaxed into coaches.
Because I wanted to teach her
What I learned too late,
That to find a prince one
Must already be a queen.

Kirsten Anderson, California

Sunday 15 April 2007

Chicken Shit by Corey Cook

She calls & asks me to come
over, the girl who wears light
blue Spandex shorts 3 days
a week, who wears a dark pink
shirt that is too big for her
2 days a week & no bra. The
girl who bent down to pick up
an eraser that Brian intentionally
knocked off his desk, the girl
we all want to dance with, the girl
we all want. She calls me
& I bike there - peddle as fast
as I possibly can. She meets me
at the door & leads me across
the lawn, through the barn, up
to the hayloft. We take turns
swinging on a rope tied to a beam,
swing through the dim, dusty
expanse. We shoot a couple
baskets & she takes a seat on a hay
bale. She takes a seat & I get
the sneaking suspicion that she
has rehearsed this. She takes a seat
& pats the space next to her with
an expectant look on her face -
dust trembles in the half-light. "I
really need to go home" I say
& leave her poised on that hay bale.

Corey Cook, New Hampshire, USA

Thursday 12 April 2007

Sawmill by Taylor Graham

Gone the west wind’s lilt
and laughter, the forest-sighs
of trees

as twisted woodgrain meets
the screaming blade
and wallboards tremble

at the exact moment
late afternoon sun comes
angling through

an upper window, motes
go flying in light-
struck splatters,

a galaxy that swirls
and settles
sawdust on the floor.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Indiana Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

A few tales
of the reasons
I love Indiana.
Breaking loose from the state line
of Illinois, bursting down the Indiana
toll road , near Lake Station
heading south,
smelling smoke of old
gray steel mills
seeping out
of Gary,
left behind me,
steel men, strong men,
ribs of fire, courage of
union dreamers,
long gone & most laid off,
pension plans stolen,
now gas station employees,
travelers of the
past, snuff chewers,
& labor wages,
small lakes & fishing ponds
with half sunken boats
with tips pointed sky high,
& memories dripping
off the lips of clouds.
I’m banging out 75 mph,
in my raspberry
Geo Tracker;
but as Jesus said: “I tell you
the truth“:
nothing ever changes in
Indiana but the seasons
& the size of the corn ears.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Friday 6 April 2007

Aurora by Taylor Graham

The Northern Lights hang
in hot green arcs and seething violet,
a silken canopy slipping by instants
into dark, a whispered
secret of the polar night.

Do we dare step out
of the armor of our day, our
doors and ceiling,
and shiver
under the burning sky?

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Tanka by Eugenia Andino

Belleza simple,
azahar, perfecto aroma.
Tu sabor, sutil.
¡Qué milagro sería
que nos pudieras cantar!

Such simple beauty,
orange blossom, perfect scent.
your flavour’s subtle.
What a miracle it would be
to hear you sing!

Eugenia Andino, Seville, Spain

Sunday 1 April 2007

Haiku by Eugenia Andino

Última naranja del invierno.
Un mes de hambre.
Tiempo de fresas.

Last orange in the season.
A hungry month.
Time for strawberries.

Eugenia Andino, Seville, Spain