Wednesday 23 December 2009

Storm Fear by Phil Lane

Before the snow, the fear
of being homebound
with only my thoughts,
my brain overfilled with time
like too much fodder in the shock.

After the snow, the fear
is realized, the mind stutters,
eyes scour the same walls
for a change in landscape
when out of the tundra
comes the sound of nothing,
the distant buzz
behind the bunker of winter,
the pang of pins dropping
like long thoughts falling
into snowy stillness—

Phil Lane, New Jersey, USA

Monday 21 December 2009

How an Egret Saved Me by Chris Alba

I lay prostrate on the couch & worried & worried
The newspaper scattered like leaves around my bier
The syllables of war trip over the tongue like poetry
Afghaniraq darfuristan & the birds are fluttering
Into extinction In the latter days the seas arise
My aunt says God is coming soon but where is he
Where is his sign I’ve lost you to the television
& the latest tennis match among the titans
Worried & worried until I saw the water’s reflection
On the wall there A dancing curvature of light
& through the glass I saw the egret winging past
The long white neck folded & long dark legs folded
Trimly as a package born aloft on broad white wings
A love letter airmailed from a distant God

Chris Alba, California, USA

Saturday 19 December 2009

The Cello by Kristina Marie Darling

On nights like this I would play my cello, the snow like tinfoil under a phosphorescent moon. Before I knew it, you were there, with your handkerchiefs and your melancholia. The light on my windowpane, a struck match all aglow. We would take turns cradling the instrument’s long neck, its cavernous belly, watching the cold metal strings shiver and hum. After each chord you’d swallow glittering nerve tablets, whispering: Be still. Be. Still. Its sonorous voice faded with each blue pill. And when the snow eddied and slushed, the cello safe in its towering white box, I took up sainthood to pass the time. On winter mornings my teeth still ache.

Kristina Marie Darling, USA

Tuesday 15 December 2009

van goghism by Adam Moorad

i've seen people throw themselves from windows
while staring at my own elbow
without an anxiety reaction,

i see doorknobs
appear to revolve

and colors
with all those swirls

and the crackle
of the universe

Adam Moorad, USA

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Lighted Sky by Eric Miller

At the top of the world, we hung
from a blue, cork, bulletin board
sky in a hot air balloon, looking
down on a circus tent whose big
top was open wide, revealing a
table on which a birthday cake
brightly blazed, surrounded by
buoyant children floating in

A circle of cartwheeling clowns
tethered our ropes to the table,
and a gust of wind lifted us higher
and higher, bringing the table and
children along

The sky gave off a greenish glow
tinted with a faintness of red, and
the happy children danced on the
sky to the music of a band called
Northern Lights and the voice of
a singer named Aurora Borealis

Eric Miller, Pennsylvania, USA

Friday 4 December 2009

Tumbleweed at Shining Tree by Denis Robillard

For Luke Wilson

Your freedom of the Odometer covers a lot of ground.
To see the world in a grain of sand.
For what it really is. Outpacing yourself in that
tumbleweed camper. Fading into another sunset.
Tracking the distances in your brain.
Living Outside.
Your second skin. The weathers.
Reading the weathers. Nuance. Nuage. New Age.
How it drenches a landscape. Renewal.
The sun makes another snowman drunk.
Throws an insect into your words.
Like a dog barking into evening
car chasing spectral shadows.
The ills. What ails you, bends you.
It all becomes willow in the weathers.
When the comfort of your heart-shaped
furniture breaks down and
emotions go thread bare
You seek the weathers.
Make a hop pillow for your head.
Lay down in the cocoon arms of Your Master
Smoothing out the rituals there.
Remembering angles of light
the quality of a waterfall.
How everything goes suddenly gray.
And you still perpetually wrapped, trapped
in a west coast shroud rain
and looking for the illusive shining tree
where it’s all written down. The weathers.

Denis Robillard, Canada

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Swim in the Rain by Luis Cuauhtemoc

I swim in the rain.
I don’t know the consequences of such a thing.
Life is a Trojan horse.
I seek less deception.
I set out to sea
bent on swimming as far from shore as I could.
I want to cleanse my heart.
I seek immediate relief.
The rain coincides
with the situation I am experiencing.
I lost out on love.
I don’t know what else to do.
It is night and I am afraid to fall asleep.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, CA, USA

Friday 27 November 2009

What Never Was by Amir Elzeni

I guess we all have
our memories, our past,

I threw out
every girl's number
I ever had, when I fell
in love,

and ten years later,
somebody finds me,
somebody always finds you,

and they write you,
email you, as if
the rain never got us wet,

but I am in love,

and they should know,

only fools

Amir Elzeni, USA

Monday 23 November 2009

Time on My Hands by Kat Mortensen

In solitude, I sit
Looking at my hands.
Palms, scarred skating ponds
Carved with creases;
Timelines, criss-cross;
Lifelines, cut;
Lovelines ... persist,
Like the laughlines on my face;
Fingerprints, indistinct
At fingertips—
My identity fades
With age.

Kat Mortensen, Ontario, Canada

Wednesday 18 November 2009

Three letters for Péter by Ana Tun

You snub me with a lecture
about love and Plato.
By the end of the day
accepting my defeat
I left.

Why beckon me now?
Our deaf souls
are unknown to each other.
Reliquarium my heart
to hold your thoughts
for ever and a day. Still
my soul
will not
can not
summon you.

And if we are to meet again
in our late years of fruit bearing trees
You and I are to know
it was our grain too young to reap
under the frozen ground
still deaf and mute
in the winter’s cold windy blow.
Trei scrisori către Péter

Imi dai peste nas cu o prelegere
despre dragoste și Platon.
Până se lasă seara
recunoscându-mă înfrântă
Am plecat.

Pentru ce mă mai chemi acum?
Sufletele noastre surde
Nu mai au cum să se recunoască.
Relicvar inima mea
îți va păzi gândurile
pentru o mie și una de zile.
sufletul meu
nu vrea
nu poate
să te mai conjure.

Și de-ar fi să ne vedem din nou
în anii noștrii târzii de pomi pârguiți
va fi pentru că vom ști, eu și cu tine,
grăuntele ne-a fost nevârstnic pentru a încolți
sub țărâna degerată
s-a învârtoșat surdomut
în rafale reci de vânt iernatic.

Ana Tun, PA, USA
Rumanian translation by Octavian Logigan (and Ana Tun)

Sunday 15 November 2009

Rockwell by S.P. Flannery

Not abstract existing within obtuse,
limned real and sold to popular
periodicals for everyone to skim
the surface,
social commentary we lost to esoteric
indulgences, Caligula reborn
to preside over a modern bacchanalia
of forget, escape the confines
and problems, critique from distant
mushrooms eaten
because of instructions written neatly
with black ink on white paper.

S P Flannery, Madison, USA

Thursday 12 November 2009

Observer by Kanev Peycho

I am feeding on sunshine
and fading moon light,
pouring my poems into bottles of wine
and later find them on the bottom

I walk;
I lick the morning mist from
the street-cars and dream about their

most of the times I am lazy like
Sunday morning,
and at some other times I pace across
the projects and the gutters of the city
where all the stars of the world blazed
for the first time


where are you right now Allen G. to show
me how to smoke joint or roar Ommmmm;
where are you dwelling Robert F. to teach
me how to shake hands with the big wigs;
where are you Ezra P. to find out how not
to go mad or speechless or old or dead;
where are you smiling Robinson J.?
I know-with your sun and eagles and loneliness.

I will try
not to be like you
when right now I don’t look even like myself.
You wrote the right words
and I will drink this bottle right now
without thinking of you for the rest
of the day.

Kanev Peycho, Chicago, IL, USA

Friday 6 November 2009

A Universe of Leaves by Andrea DeAngelis

I spy a universe of leaves
what is under the ice in me?

Conversation suspended still
no more warmth to break the chill.

Autumn partially thawed
will never exist again
for you were right.

We construct
and deconstruct
our constellations of hate.

Until the maps of them
are plain
against our broken skin.

Andrea DeAngelis, New York, USA

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Love your vegetables by Christie Isler

Beneath the open air tents, vegetables tempt like
penny candy or beckoning bins of polished
stones, five dollars a bag. They glow in shades of want
- small hand want, desire confused with need.
Want to hold those circus hues crying, Sweet! Want to
heft the weight, to possess. Want to envelop in
sweaty palm, the disco ball gobstoppers, gummy
bears bejeweled, the agates and the humming ribs of
tiger-eyes, burnished sight of malachite. Even then,
it was never about nourishment or need, but
a rodent crusade to have those lovely things.
Even then. Even now.

The market throngs are festive and intent. Wiry,
naked faced women scurry past, canvas bags and
picnic baskets harvest heavy. The weight of their
wealth measured in ostrich orb eggplants, taffy striped
cream with violet and lace dancing frocks of carrot
tops. But then, all your colors are waning, sliding
from stands like drying sand. Currants effervesce in
bubbles of Champagne, apricot tomatoes are
yanked from the stage by crooks of comic summer squash.
Minutes more and to churned earth, they’ll return. That bud
of cabbage head, chanterelles wrapped in copper ruffles.
Hurry! Hold them, eat them, possess them, those
lovely, lovely things.

Christie Isler, USA

Friday 30 October 2009

in spring by Casey Quinn

vegetable seeds
were planted
at exact
in peat pods
for an early start
on mother nature

as the first leaves unfolded
each were transplanted
to larger pots

to raised beds
built just for them

treated with miracle gro,
weeded weekly and
provided hours
of sun -
they grew

spring turned
to summer

green peppers and
tomato plants,
attacked by beetles -

survived the assault
with broccoli, lettuce
and potatoes thriving
until the drought…

and at last,
my garden was dead –

this fall
as i mow my lawn
i kick at the onions,
and mushrooms
that grow wild.

Casey Quinn, USA

Monday 26 October 2009

Coalmining by Simon Kewin

Bolted in its room we kept a mountainside
Of black scree waiting in avalanche
Its gradients too steep to clamber
Up to the distant square of the hatch
Where men, strength bowed by the weight of the rocks,
Lugged upon their supplicating backs,
Poured thunder into the hungry dark
And took away as limp bodies, the sacks

You rasped the shovel’s tongue in at its base
Let the mass of the mountain do the work
Rock rumbled forward to heal the erosion
While, two-handed, you heaved up the load
The nuggets gleaming, sleek with treacle,
Be careful not to drop any on the rug
But you threw it the last foot into the flames
For the satisfaction of the crunch and wumph

The stunned fire smoking pencil-grey
Then roaring back to hungry life, the
Alchemy of the rocks a miracle, lighting
To faces that peer from the glow
While we, heliocentric, return to our orbits
Bask in the heat of carboniferous suns
Arrayed as planets and the moons of planets,
Huddled in pairs for the passing warmth.

Simon Kewin, Herefordshire, UK

Wednesday 21 October 2009

The Way by Peter Magliocco

(Khe Sahn, 1968)

Winds ruffle
the Ho Chi Minh trail
where aromatic marsh
vies with forgotten
mildewing beneath
soldier's gear
bats visit when the sun
ambles down from distant
horizons orange-tinged
to groan like the last
man on earth now
winds escape
a forgotten fossil
underneath remnants
from nature's evaporating
cache warm monsoon
rain sheets baptize
blurring the last footfall
of human retreat
from spectral edges
of razed villages
moldering forlornly
in nondescript grey
night will whisper
false silent comforts
around this vista
of dark dismay
yet tremulous with
earth songs
of omnipresent insects
& tread of tigers
waiting to take
another platoon
to Heaven's Gate

Peter Magliocco, Nevada, USA

Saturday 17 October 2009

Consider the Lilies by Karen S. Nowviskie

Consider now the lilies of the field
And then consider, too, the field itself,

The coarse high grasses wet with rain that catch
Against my calves as I pace the path to the pond.

Consider, too, the dark filled pond, the just passed rain,
The smooth-slipped rocks that line the muddy banks,

The slippery mud that sucks at toes
Of shiny frogs that jump and plop at my approach.

They neither reap nor sow, these lilies nor this field.
These frogs that hop at my approach, kings of this small pool,

They neither reap nor sow. The floating moon,
Only floating, shines up on me as light from some

Unseen deep new world. I must consider then the moon,
This same, riding gently on the ripples of the startled frogs

And glittering jewel-like on the rain stained grass.
I must consider then and hold this moon, this night, this field,

These lilies closed in prayer, these creatures deep.
I must consider what I did not sow and wonder if even Solomon

Could know what it is I reap from this array, what it is I reap
From this deep new world, this bright and shining deep new day.

Karen S. Nowviskie, West Virginia, USA

Monday 12 October 2009

How to Write by Catherine Zickgraf

Break the leaf litter, squeeze through
shedding trunks. Don’t wear
shopping district red. Or blue.
Few things are blue. Of course the sky,
supposedly the ocean, police sirens.
You want army olive and potato brown
like the ground. From miles back, the mountains are fuzzy.
But inside, the road is hewn through gneiss and granite,
sloping severely, rock-cold.

Frost pebbles fill in the roughage up here
like crumbled styrofoam in your carpet. And where
stunted sycamores gather in clusters, stop there.
Your hair and pale weeds move under
the winds’ chain-link rattling.
Tuck in your arms.

Notice how the glow is gone from the trees. Their mustard leaves,
their million peachy hands from branches are dead.
Their skins wracked with billbugs and snapped from your weight.
Outrun the lower world.
And write up here.

Catherine Zickgraf, Georgia, USA

Friday 9 October 2009

Listen by Rae Spencer

Can you hear the whales?

Long slow sea chanteys
Rhythm paced by the meter of waves
Graceful arcs of melody
Race with neap voices
Toward the shore

Living swells of tidal muses
With curls of seafoam tresses

Refrains shatter into salty spray
Spill notes upon the sand
And slip inside wind

In graceful prism arcs
Whalesong leaves the sea

To lisp among trees
Where rustling leaves
Keep company with time

Can you hear the wolves?

Long slow forest choruses
In unnamed minor keys
Filled with promised futures
Hunger weaves through molting trees
Down and down to seas

These breathing moonlit muses
Swell their throats with lore

A choir of hunters
Eyes and ears and tongues uplifted
Return the sea’s salt voice

An ebbing echo of whales
Rolls across the shore

And between these native singers
All the wisdom born in time
Falls with autumn’s leaves

Rae Spencer, Virginia, USA

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Grace by Eric Miller

Hunched over, chin pressed against his neck,
he pulls at his collar to stretch it across his
nose and mouth.

The watered earth below his feet gurgles with
each step, and the mist around him seems as
thick as the mud underfoot.

But, as the sun reaches up with a hand to pull
itself above the distant hill, a beam of light
finds its way through the atomized air, bringing
the first touch of brightness and warmth to the

He fishes not for the trout under the cascading
water, but rather for the pen in his pocket. On a
small pad of paper, he writes the words he sees
spelled out as the trout move about, like his
fingers will, later, on his keyboard.

The sun’s rays dance like disco lights on the
water’s surface in concert with the movements
of the fish. The prism of water bathes the trees
in the shades of autumn.

Connected with the stream’s mud floor, its
dancing inhabitants, and the rippled ceiling
of water, he hears the words he has written
being read as his ashes are carried in the
familiar currents.

He is filled with the feeling of grace.

Eric Miller, Pennsylvania, USA

Saturday 3 October 2009

Side Effects May Include by Howie Good

waking in the morning still drunk,
problems with zippers,

dull visits from the better angel of your nature,
self-attempts at a heart tattoo,

occupation by an army of mercenaries,
a neighbor who keeps goats,

fear of drowning in the bathtub,
curiously fat fingers, and, in severe cases,

a soul like a broken shoelace.

Howie Good, new York, USA

Thursday 1 October 2009

One Kisses His Luck Away by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

One kisses his luck away.
He cuts his hand off
and then the other. His
blood fills one hundred fountains.
He starts bathing in his own
blood with the sun bearing down
and it is still morning.

When all his blood is gone
and he loses consciousness
his heart starts swelling.
It is a mighty heart.
He begins to come to life.
One hand grows back and then
the other. With the sun bearing
down and the afternoon birds
singing from the skies he starts
daydreaming in black and white.

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, CA, USA

Monday 28 September 2009

second avenue subway construction or: is there silence anymore in New York by Nanette Rayman Rivera

As my sweet sausages and peaches drop
through the construction pit, the air that anneals
ash accelerates over sludge, gives its body
to the workers of the chasm. When I moved
up here from lower Manhattan, far from hip portico,
I beamed at clean trees that marked this garden
of calm. Beyond my known coterie
of cool juice bars, fawned over lady boutiques:
all fierce I was, all claw and blade,
so unlike any sparrow who nests.

Regardless, I’ve been lost in the downy
slick of a woodpecker’s red head, lost in the bone
- coffined shins of sawed off trees. A new weeping
willow just de-catkined, its riled blonde like liver
disease stealing along the chain link fence
reveals a watermark in a disease of fatigue.
Silver-dollared Calendulas watercolor rats out of their league.

In any case I’ve been writing about surrender—
I wonder what being a bird is like – wings,
clap loudly compasses, outskirts and ruffles of down
Ring Neck Doves, white lips on tail feathers—
The ornithologist who plied bird liming, viscid, adhesive
substance for the sake of circumvallation.
That word is behind me now
along the construction, the brown
and cream round earth.
I’m a bird astonished by all the stars there are,
all frost and steel.
The one billion free razors of my reveries.
Ah! How I bleed.

Nanette Rayman Rivera, USA

Friday 25 September 2009

Throat by Wendy Noonan

It's pitching in the wind again,
by a house with quiet shutters.

There, the girl runs through
stalks of wheat moving

through invisible fingers.
The dog lopes along ahead,

and she has known him,
has spent many an autumn night

combing burrs from his hair.
The wheat has a secret;

the sky will not tell it.
In old photos, when her words

are carried off on the backs of birds,
the child is more still, she must

be so still for the nulled
voice climbing down the well,

nails torn, covered in petals, leeches.
It will need to offer her

a gift. Here is the new throat
torn, and the dress sewn

for her, it is a solid yellow.
Now she is calling you Sister.

Wendy Noonan, Oregon, USA

Monday 21 September 2009

late night shifts by Alishya Almeida

late night shifts, and
we are not ourselves
girls with too many hearts
blue in destruction mode

her smile catching in webbed
light, mangled hope
causes sunshine depression

but this connection is
better-fall in love with
the dying, homeless,
future home wreckers

this is your shadow
rummaging through
my thoughts

make a sound to
pull me out of inhibition

redhead, golden dress
want to runaway?

Alishya Almeida

propagation by Angie Werren

you flash those cherokee eyes / black as kentucky coal
and run barefoot up the boatdock / bluegills and malboros
in your hands / you grab a dishtowel from the clothesline
honey, wait / let me put some hens-and-chicks in a box
I canned some of those hot peppers too

tonight / you’ll sit in the dark and stare at the moon

my yard is full of dogwoods that make me think of you
weeds fight for space with hens-and-chicks / I’m trapped
in my skin / sore feet and tired old eyes / I spent all afternoon
planting daylilies / see what that is / rustling leaves over there
I guess it’s just the creek running

tonight / I’ll sit in the dark and stare at the moon

she looks up / equations in her dark eyes / plants propagate
numbers in that child’s head / she’ll grow maple trees on mars
someday / she counts the hens-and-chicks / oh there’s so many
like a star cluster / can I take some with me when I go
I want a big house by the river

tonight / she’ll sit in the dark and stare at the moon

Angie Werren, Ohio, USA

Saturday 19 September 2009

On Waking by Wendy Kwok

everything i have put into hibernation
has realised that winter is yet to come;
it is closing on my heels and chasing the
summer sun into earlier afternoons, my
hands guilt and guile gliding over wasted
leaves and painted eaves without shelter.

the light is a motion movie playing in strips,
clipping the scenes i cannot grip so my heart
is insulated. but my mouth is already baited
and my core is slated for reconstruction;
the wind is cold on my tongue where resolution
dissolves her iron ill over sagging will wily with time.

you are wiping the grime so i can see your name,
your shame written on windows closed to me and
i am learning to read backwards, to bend slack words
into recognisable shapes where we have convoluted
circles without realising the one-way roads coasting
away from slain lovers are leading us right back to each other.

Wendy Kwok, Scotland

Thursday 10 September 2009

Universe by Neil Ellman

The universe expands, contracts,
Curls back upon itself,
Crashes in thunderous jolts
Unheard in spaceless space.

The universe begins and ends
Begins again somewhere
Where there is no where
And ends where it begins.

The universe gives birth
To cosmic eggs, itself an egg,
A progeny of stars and nebulae
Racing to the end of endless time.

The universe unfolds, a dream,
Traveling at the speed of light
And standing still while it surveys
The loneliness of strings.

Neil Ellman, NJ, USA

Monday 7 September 2009

Natural Selection by Bill Graffius

Watching dark ash and dust devour the sun
was a hard lesson for Rex.
Strength, claws and incisors
were no match for the advancing ice
and his reign ended.

We were prey, not predator,
running bent, adrenals pumping,
hoping to avoid being supper for the tigers.
But, we learned, and knowledge became power,
a subtle, but awesome substitute
for sinewed muscle and sharp teeth.

Once life was a struggle for food and shelter.
Successful procreation was a clear measure
of the success of the species.

Now, Nature begins to stack the scales
in counterbalance as we foul our nest
and eat the seeds of next Spring's harvest.

New viruses are multiplying,
reproduction is no longer a hope for the future
but a gamble with extinction.

Like poor Rex our blood has betrayed us,
beginning to freeze.

Bill Graffius, Oregon, USA

Saturday 5 September 2009

Raining Moon by Jessica McWhirt

And the water that
fell from the skies,
drowned the moon,
cutting it in half,
shooting it to Earth,
and no one panicked,
and no one cared-
The slice of the moon
lacerated the blues
and browns sending
one half forward,
the other half back,
and no one seemed to mind,
and no one was alarmed-
You were on one side
and I was on the other,
while you moved forward,
and I jumped back.
Eventually one of us
will be engulfed by
a black hole
and spat out on the
other end of time
and we’ll never know
what we missed,
but the people don’t care and
they don’t seem to mind.

Jessica McWhirt, Colorado, USA

Thursday 3 September 2009

Songs by Kelly Shepherd

we'll light up songs
by the campfire
I'll throw you a poem
across the field
we'll wash stories
in the waterfall
then send our dreams
to the moon

sing me a song
with your quiet smile
with your rising side
with your crying eyes
sing me a song
don't tell me the words

Kelly Shepherd, British Columbia, Canada

Sunday 30 August 2009

Love is Natural by Steve Kissing

Even at campgrounds with lakes,
Swimming pools and hiking trails,

Some teens would still rather just sit
And stare at the tiny, lit screens

Above their thumbs, texting their
Girlfriends and boyfriends back home.

Come nighttime, though, even the most
Hardened of these kids will put down

Their phones and join in the hunt
For lightning bugs blinking in the air,

Sending text messages of sorts to
Hopeful lovers waiting in the grass.

Steve Kissing, OH, USA

Friday 28 August 2009

After Dusk by Chris Crittenden

mauve has gone down
the long rollercoaster sprint
of a firefly's throat.
we are offered a fabric
without spectrum or prism,
dark curtains
drawn on a lavish stage.

nothing left
except hints of lost embers.
glints and glows like magic tips
of an Etch a Sketch
that never paints.

we must do the work ourselves,
filling in the canvas,
guided only by a rare
meteor scar.

what we see, all our dreams,
merely a whimsy of stardust,
clouds of fleshed glitter
kicked up by the hobos in our heads.

that's night's secret,
as if we didn't know-
we wear ourselves,
feel our own secrets,
when we button on the dark.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Sunday 23 August 2009

Summer Night by Karen S. Nowviskie

Taken by an evening chill,
I leave my sun-soaked seat,

Forsaking hummingbirds
That trouble trumpet vines

And bumblebees that startle
At their sudden rise and fall.

Conceding feeders to
The scrabbling squirrels

And serviceberries to
The reign of mockingbirds,

I force my trembling self
To pause as life,

Unshaken by the coming
Of the night,

Grows dark against
The purple evening sky.

Karen Nowviskie, West Virginia, USA

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Sunset Song by Chris Crittenden

tea-leaf sky,
crushed calendulas and smeared mallows.
the sun flees this garden
like Romeo growing redder,
exiled by his blush.

we want to spread this marmalade,
like toddlers brazen and quick,
swirl with our raised finger
painting fingers,
and loose a giggle as we splatter forth
a dragon's yellow tail.

we want to bubble with laughter
that fizzes in our throats,
bloom bouquets on bright breaths,
and float with them, giddy
as dandelion puffs.

the gorgets of once-seen hawks,
embers fleeting and rare,
tint our bottomless eyes.
sunset has given us answers,
more certain than the dark.
never again these reaches to be known
as empty.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Monday 17 August 2009

And So I Forgot Water, Too, Has Breath by Michael H Brownstein

And so I forgot water, too, has breath
and purple weeds can lift their eyes from the mud first light.
I have forgotten, too, their pattern of speech,
their bright fingers tearing the sky apart.
There is much to forget and much to remember.
and in time I will forget this also: the great Missouri
breaking the boundary, its belly pregnant,
its strength a pulse, a spread of hands--
rising, rising, rising--its fingers stretching from fist
into mud and design, debris and satisfaction.

Michael H Brownstein, Chicago, USA

Friday 14 August 2009

Fox On Mitcham Common by Matthew Friday

Posing in his orange-brown fur,
erect ears, staring into the foreground
forked by tall iron pylons tearing
the sky open over the tiny patch of Common.

Matthew Friday, UK

Friday 7 August 2009

Good Authority by James Brush

I always thought
they’d like death metal,
but I’ve got it on good authority
vultures prefer smooth jazz.

Ambulance rides can be rough;
vultures know this and relax.
Watching the highway, they know
everyone gets his turn.

Turkey Vultures can smell a corpse
from hundreds of feet up. Outflying
Cessnas they arrive first on the scene.

Black Vultures follow, pushing
the solitary Turkeys to the rotting edges.

The Black Vultures brag that by traveling
together they’ve learned to attack
and kill small animals: calves and possums.
Straightening their ties, they discuss
elaborate plans to go public. Someday, they claim,
they will become hawks or eagles.

The Turkey Vulture listens to this talk,
wondering if he too will evolve.

James Brush, Texas, USA

Tuesday 4 August 2009

Open Letter by Janann Dawkins

John, I hope the Jersey sun
shines on your hands. Here,
clouds stretch into oceans
of clouds, and birds melt into liquid
flight. From the east rain approaches
like a paw, snaring the weekend.

Last night, I spied your gibbous eye.

A crow as dark as my father
dropped from high, blood
blackened by a virus
from a mosquito's dirty needle.
All last week I stayed inside.

I sleep with hands horizontal.
God dresses in your voice, and it buttons
me in dreams.

Janann Dawkins, Michigan, USA

Friday 31 July 2009

Terrene Explorer by S. P. Flannery

Slugs climb from hostas to
stick to windows, basement
portals that these viscous individuals
use to ascend from the ground
of moss and mould, debris where mushrooms
protrude to toxicate terrestrial fauna.
Trails cling and refract sunlight
unobstructed by clouds or night,
this armada races to the edge
where the sea of glass becomes replaced
with aluminum siding, white, abrasive
to a gelatinous epidermal coat.
These invertebrates freefall back,
moist loam soil greets them home
from the xeric realm of outer space.

S. P. Flannery, Madison, USA

Monday 27 July 2009

Being Young and Green by Isaiah Vianese

after Edna St. Vincent Millay

Summer and the baby ferns
dry to a crisp—sun bleeding them.
The wind takes what is left.
Young, green, hopeful,
they stand along the road,
reaching for the sun,
loving it nonetheless.

Isaiah Vianese, Missouri, USA

Thursday 23 July 2009

Culling by Taylor Graham

I was going to write a poem. Instead, all morning
I’ve been pulling out periwinkle by the roots.
I love periwinkle, its blossoms of a blue shade
I can’t describe except by its own name. But
periwinkle has overgrown my tiny island between
dingy lawn and pebble deck, twining all over
the red-clay Mexican tree-of-life atop a boulder,
which I meant to be a focus – more than that,
a symbol – of the garden. What I’ve torn out,
I’ll stick in the ground on that bare slope above
the field, and hope it grows there. It’s hardy as
human language. It just doesn’t belong where it is,
not so much of it. Let’s say, it’s too much herbage.
What does this have to do with writing a poem?

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Monday 20 July 2009

it was a spider by Charles Clifford Brooks III

burgundy flora is placed
and eight legs race
from it
across the oak table.

a snow-white spider
the second in three days
she replaces the first one
i killed.

number two is hiding
in a bundle of cockscomb.
one little crystal spinner
at buddha’s feet.

i am a reed
a puff of air
humbled as she weeps
for the first.

Charles Clifford Brookes III

Thursday 16 July 2009

untitled by Regina C J Green


through long-winding roads
once the path worn round
the old broken elm
and standing there
contemplating the lapsed sturdiness
of it all

you became the roaming spider and
the hungry locust
the tall valiant grass and
the happy cattail
and every mirrored child
knew his way
from home to there
and back again

Regina C J Green, Florida, USA

Tuesday 14 July 2009

July by Aiko Harman

Out on the back porch
watching the dogs catch June bugs
praying for peace.

Red Solo cups clutter the lawn,
saran wrap hugs the leftover
hamburgers until tomorrow.

After dusk, mosquitoes make
blue sparks in the hanging zapper.
Crickets tune on the lawn.

Grandfathers sleep in Lazyboys
in the living room, holding cups
of melting ice on their bellies.

Girls in sundresses catch lightning
bugs along the still lake in mason jars
— nature’s night-lights.

My mother, her sister, sit in the kitchen,
remembering, their staccato voices echo
from the window like two canaries.

I am home. I sleep to the hum
of the fan left on overnight, dry heat,
and summer.

Aiko Harman, Scotland

Thursday 9 July 2009

The Adirondack Chair by Robert Demaree

Between the screened porch and the tool shed,
Back from the pond,
Sat my mother’s white Adirondack chair,
Where she would shell peas
Of a light New Hampshire afternoon 40 Julys ago.
You might call it a yard,
Except for grass there were ferns, maple seedlings, and
Sprouting amid the pine needles
A score of things I could not name.
In time the chair fell apart, began to rot,
Returning to the rocky soil whence it had come.
I could not let the space sit empty.
I got a white Adirondack chair of molded plastic
At the Walmart on the highway,
Near where the farm stand had been.

Robert Demaree, NC, USA

Thursday 2 July 2009

Inheriting a Garden by Taylor Graham

Heavenly bamboo outside my window
amber/tender-green and saffron – never trust
a garden planted by a former owner.
What did she mean? Firethorn and holly,
every bush bears birds and hunger-berries.

Could a garden’s keeper die of roses?

Still, heavenly bamboo draws me into
cantilevered daylight through a lace of oaks.
A place to gather stars, their blossoming
already light-years gone. Who planned
their gardens? Down here, bees weave
silken carpets of rosemary, lavender, and air.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Sunday 28 June 2009

Lichen by Chris Crittenden

the judge
who consigns my soul
will have the same pale eyes
and stare just as long,
perusing the tome of my seasons;

yet to me it will seem
we have no time together;
that i barely notice
a jade sphinx
before she is gone.

only shadows call the lichen love,
taking time to savor every lobe-
and only on certain days
when the light wanes sweet.

she never sulks,
even when dew makes her cry,
basking in pure air
like the portrait of a nude.
one brushstroke a year.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Tuesday 23 June 2009

A Letter from Carnegiea gigantea by Gary Wong

My Dear Rain,

Tomorrow is the eighty-second day
I've been apart from you—my dear, my rain.
The Arizona heat can kill a stray,
but waiting here, I braved the desert flames.

To bring you back, I grew a ruby flower
at night, in secret, using water saved
from last you gave me kisses from the clouds.
I grew the stone with rain—your rain—and faith.

Caressed my nettles, licked my waxy flesh—
I know, deep down, you felt these feelings too.
Come back to me. My roots are shallow, fresh
are your storms, and I have a life to lose.

Gone. Gone away. I kissed the Flicker's beak.
He drank the you from me: the life of me.

Gary Wong, California, USA

Friday 19 June 2009

My Tourist Yard by James Brush

They show up in April with the cowbirds
and the red wings, all the icterids returning.

By June they’re hoarding the feeders,
the birdbaths and the lawn, clucking

in the trees and teaching their young.
By August they’ve returned to the parking lot

at the grocery store, handing the keys to the yard
back to the chickadees and titmice who,

more deferential, somehow seem a little
sweeter than their noisy cousins who only

summer here, throw their cash around and
leave without learning the culture or our ways.

James Brush, Texas, USA

Sunday 14 June 2009

Newly Weds at the Grocery Store by Mather Schneider

He can’t believe she doesn’t like radishes.
He loves them,
they make you burp.
His father loved them too.
“I love my burpers,”
his father used to say.

She is perturbed about the burpers.
They remind her of her aunt Penelope.
To her they are just depraved little apples
that make you cry.
She ripely repudiates their presence.

Is the problem of the burpers
The decibels by the vegetable bin
impel us to hyperbole.

We’d hate to see them go their separate ways
over a spat in produce—
he soap-boxing the burper,
she purpling
in apoplectic loathing of it.

Whatever happens I hope they remember:
does not bed with the burper.

The burper is just a tiny tuber.

Mather Schneider, Arizona, USA

Wednesday 10 June 2009

got laid off on Monday by Sarah Ruth Farnsworth

catch the standupsit
down train while you bustle
up against/your headphones breathing
nonsense, secret nonsense and you
let it/how can contact lose its meaning after two joints
and an hour/palindromes of
people we've touched but never met/and i
want to know what matters/will i
find the sun if i stretch
far enough, or are we ghosts holding
picket signs at some protest for
death/today i soak up all
the rain and shake my beggar's cup
for years until i
overflow with ashes of the past/what can
i do but wonder why we waste
our lives on trains/i sleep-walk
into passersby and yes, we've met before.

Sarah Ruth Farnsworth, San Francisco, California, USA

Saturday 6 June 2009

Accidental Dancer by Dorla Moorehouse

You imagine him dancing
the way Duncan did-
ecstatic, the way Graham did-

wrapped in his own soul.

Despite knowing the beat passes
through his head without
reaching his limbs-
despite knowing he's been too feral
too long to be trained
you want to set a work for him,
and his freely awkward
frame because you love
the effortless clumsiness
and the confidence of each
second he performs, and the
yearning shyness on his
face the moment he is finished.

You hope to find a composition
in which each note sounds
only of joy, and you want
to give him your steps and
your style and have him
translate and deconstruct
each idea into his
ecstatic body.

Dorla Moorehouse, Texas, USA

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Fragile by Mather Schneider

The woman takes down the pictures of her family
and tucks them in a box.
They all look shocked
staring through their little windows
stiff as the sweater people
in the Sears newspaper insert
lining the bottom.

She crumples up
the headlines, stuffs them between
their sharp-elbowed frames
and wraps the whole thing
thoroughly as a headwound.

She tries to protect them
with the magic wand
of her black marker
but she knows too well the way

things shift, and crack;
and the way water always seeps in
like amnesia.

Mather Schneider, Arizona, USA

Sunday 31 May 2009

Spring Breezes by Mary Belardi Erickson

My son flies his kite in the pasture
while I jump from bog hump to hump
chasing the tail of the flying paper shape.
Wind the string in; reel it out--
releasing the triangular bird
into layers of breeze.
I show him about playing the wind--
dancing our feet, fingering a lofty tug
from the upwardly dashing kite.

There's no cutting the line
when a child flies a kite--
no letting go.
He has me help in the chase.
I run back with the stay,
preventing the kite's dive down to earth.
I show my son how the working of line,
the playing with draft
is a fine use of higher spaces.

Mary Belardi Erickson, Minnesota, USA

Friday 29 May 2009

Denis in Space by Tom Rendell

Denis, has gone for a year out, in Space.
Skating skywards purple boots, heels click kicking high,
A celestial shout heckles the planets, white teeth dazzle stardust,
Parents – dentists, oh so proud of their satellite son.
It’s party time in the galaxy, crystal phantoms chatter by,
Mine sweep green goblets of Beetle Juice, and off,
Soul screaming, wild – eyed,
To run rings around Saturn.

Tom Rendell, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Sunday 24 May 2009

A Hole in the Sky by William Doreski

A hole in the sky where gravity
doesn’t apply. Small objects
flick into the ether beyond.

Outdoors at the Japanese restaurant
by the falls we notice plastic
tableware and dishes of sauce

rise and disappear. The waiter,
when we ask where the objects go,
prefers to speak no English.

Metal tableware and our plates
remain but look uneasy,
and your hair stands up like a ruff.

Still, the squat red candles blaze,
the sushi arrives and remains here
long enough for us to eat it.

We enjoy the sizzle of water
over the falls, play of floodlights
on the flecks of vegetable foam and twigs

breaking their backs
on the rocks below. The waiter
glances up at that hole and smiles.

Some of the other diners move
indoors, unhappy with the tug
of the heavens. Despite the fluff

of your hairdo, we’re inclined
to sit all night and hope the hole
gathers strength enough to grab us.

We don’t know how far we’d rise,
but none of the ascended objects has fallen,
and we’d like to share

a close-up of planets rolling
like great ball bearings, starlight
warm against our awkward smiles.

William Doreski, NH, USA

Wednesday 20 May 2009

gravity is not your friend by Sierra Jasmine Skinner

clusters of cold human faces
set into frowning, crackled molds
are hovering like marionettes on invisible wire
over the sky-painted streets.

the bus stops are filled with smoke,
magician's disappearing acts
which leave only ashes
and transparent ghosts of words on flaking benches.

the sour taste of cold metal keys
at the back of everybody's throats;
the spark of dying bulbs as they flicker
like dim signals of distress over oil-steeped water.

girls in plaid and steel observe the stars
melting into dawn like mints under their own tongues,
raise their arms longer than sentences,
shorter than silence,
until they could be waving aside the gray
coiling clouds like golden giants,
wanting to feel that moisture against their fingertips,
to feel it snaking down thin white wrists,
serpentine and acidic.

Sierra Jasmine Skinner, Newfoundland, Canada

Sunday 17 May 2009

Passadumkeag by Chris Crittenden

i drift like a birch canoe
sewn of strips of my skin.
each artery a stolen name:

there are deer in my chest,
and a few bear; but there should be wolves
and pumas too.
we live in a world
where paws hardly sprint
and streetlamps slaughter.

our bright minds ride wires,
but part of me refuses to budge.
i don't want a son
with chips in his nape.

some of us will not cross over
into that place
where raindrops fall on screens.
we choose real wind.
natural leaves over the virtual.

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Saturday 9 May 2009

Oh, To Never See Cortez Again by Bill Graffius

Clouds are crashing
against the jagged mountain skyline.
Ice on the wind rattles the blackjack pine
and the forest sings with a susurrant waving of boughs.

Puffed white against cobalt blue
cumulonimbus underbellies stretch darkly
with the promise of snow.
The mountain receives them, impaling and holding them
until the vellum of mist rips
spilling the gift of moisture onto the cold dry rocks.

A mile below in the valley
rain is tapping on fogged windows.
The gently pinging litany of the drizzle
is the prayer of hope for Spring flowers.

It is this cycle that engorges each wash
with rock crushing water
cascading into shallow streams
swelling finally into the green river
that once ran to the Sea of Cortez.

But the sea no longer tastes the snowmelt.
Red canyons are drowned behind concrete dams.
Now the moisture is scattered helplessly into the air
above the thirsty creosote and sajuaro plain
by fountains, stale artificial lakes,
swimming pools
and golf course greens.

Still, the clouds return from the Pacific
and the cycle begins anew each season
despite this broken spoke in the wheel.
And a river that searches for the Sea of Cortez
rushes to a pointless death in Phoenix, Arizona,
never to rise from the ashes again.

Bill Graffius, Oregon, USA

Wednesday 6 May 2009

A Texas Highway in Springtime by James Brush

The soaring hawks who patrolled this highway
through the winter watched as wildflowers grew.
As if the sky were napping on the earth,
the fields in spring explode in deepest blue.

Fields mirror sky and fill with the shadows
of hawks and vultures flying through flowers.
Bipedal hairless apes swarm through the fields,
teeth bared, pointing rectangles at each other.

In just a few more weeks, the bluebonnets
will wither and be swallowed by the grass.
Then the soaring hawks will get their fields back
as, ignoring green, the apes just drive on past.

James Brush, Texas, USA

Friday 24 April 2009

Working Life by Howard Good

My mouth flooded with blood
once I reached the age of reason.
Peacocks I never saw
shrieked at night in the trees.
I set my alarm for six.
In the morning my life was
right where I had left it.
I muttered to myself.
She grabbed a steno pad
and started making notes.
Women in face masks
stood at long tables
sorting pieces of the wreckage.

Howie Good, New York, USA

Monday 20 April 2009

First by Bonnie McClellan

In the first sleep I dream the teapot,

The worm turns.
Female swallows preen their dun shifts
whispering excitedly in-nested.
Apple blossoms blow a narrow stream
of incandescent, undawned light
through the fractured hairline of some internal expansion that,
open eyes, scrutinizing this darkness,
pursuing, never find.

........I turn.

In the second sleep I dream the tea that fills it,
The crisped black leaf of a scorpion in the bed:
With foehn breath through pursed lips
I shift it the mattress’ length.
Chased down by these airy blows it settles
in the foothills of the laundry.


I drink coffee.
Birds are getting on with their day.
Someone left the sun
burning all night over the Pacific;
restless, it begins its second twelve-hour shift.
Apple blossoms have burnt out,
The whole day rests
for the resoldering of the filaments
So they will glow again at dusk.

Bonnie McClellan, Italy

Friday 17 April 2009

Walking in Glencanisp by Colin Will

Snowblind from the apple blossom’s garden glare
I turn, as I have so often, to wilder walks.

This strata’s as ancient as the world itself,
and the carpet’s starred with tormentil and violet.

Past the belt of planted Sitka spruce
the sky is mixed and busy, sun and shade.

Given choices, I’ll sometimes be a follower, on paths,
and sometimes take a lead through trackless ground.

The route ascends heathery heughs and drops down dips
where tiny streams drain gurgling slopes.

In the palm of the landscape’s hand, waters flow together
to top up a fortunate lochan, reflecting blue.

Birds sing, whether or not a person hears,
and the scents that I enjoy were made for others.

Placing foot before foot, the rhythm of walking
looses the mind to play, imagine, freewheel.

This is no journey with a definite end,
but a simple way of being in the now.

Colin Will, Scotland, UK

Monday 13 April 2009

apprenticeship by Kelly Shepherd

climb to the top
of the highest mountain you can see
tap where the shoulder would be
on every stone, stump,
every stunted tundra tree
roughly the size of a man

stay there, keep trying
until a weathered face turns towards you:
one of the boulders or small evergreens
will not be what it seems
and your questions will be answered

you will never come in from the cold
and the rain again
and your face will be dry, sunburnt,
chapped by the wind,
your clothing will fall away,
will be replaced by leaves, bark, skins, furs
you will move around less and less
requiring less food and drinking rainwater instead
over the years
you will start to resemble a stone
or a human-sized stump or tree

all that you will have learned
and all that you will have left behind
will become a poem, a song
barely distinguishable
from the songs of wind in the mountain pines
and there you will sit,
your face to the East
your mind in the sky
with the tops of the trees,
and under the ground with their roots...

someday, when you are old
and still enough
to be mistaken for a mossy stone
or a stunted tree
you might feel a tap on your shoulder

Kelly Shepherd, South Korea

Friday 10 April 2009

Family Tree by Mather Schneider

Me and Josie go to Agua Caliente park
and look at a giant mesquite tree
four times bigger than I’ve ever seen
sprawling with great old growth grotesquely gothic arms
spidering out like a nightmare.
It’s so big it would have died long ago
fallen from its own weight
and rotted into the ground
if people hadn’t built a support system
of ropes and chains and rubber hoses and hammocks
and crutches to hold up the biggest
most cumbersome branches.
There’s something obscene about it,
like a man grown so fat
he can’t get out of bed.
Josie tries to imagine something like this happening
in Mexico where she was born.
The American fondness for animals and trees
is a strange sentimental concept to her.
And I think, Why this tree
when so many thousands of other old growth mesquites
were slaughtered seventy five years ago
so people could move in and eventually
yearn for the past?
Me and Josie both wonder if it wouldn’t be better
to let it die
but we are not sure,
and so we just stand there looking at it
eating bananas.

Mather Schneider, Arizona, USA

Monday 6 April 2009

Chiffchaff by Carol Thistlethwaite

6th April 2008 Withnell Fold

Even though snow is marbling the trees,
these chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff-chiffs are heard,
winding their spells through leafless worlds.
The steadiness of the chiff-chaff beat,
reassuring me that this flaky white
is no more than peeling old paint,
dead skin brushing off
as the season pulls on a new linen coat.
charm from a distant land,
flamboyantly bowing its tail through the trees,
casting its hope with its hop-flick-hops,
dispelling the snow as it steadily goes,
calling each leaf to stir in each bud,
unwavering herald that Earth really does
now tilt towards a North African sun.

Carol Thistlethwaite, Lancashire, UK

Friday 3 April 2009

presence presents by Shirla White

now is the only tense

when you send a word my way,

each one a petal
drifting from a wishflower
held by someone
as distant as your flaws, echoing

she loves me

with the flicker of a firefly's eyes.

Shirla White, Saskatchewan, Canada

Sunday 29 March 2009

a poem by Simon Kewin

Curled up asleep there
as seraphic as
the furled e in serene.
Crossed feet for
perfectly drawn serifs,
your soft body
a rune of tightly cuddled limbs
as you revert to
the bliss of the huddled womb.
A quiet quotation mark
at the start of a life's long speech,
the hushed susurrus of a slowly drawn breath

Simon Kewin, Herefordshire, UK

Wednesday 25 March 2009

The Ghost Within Us by Amir Elzeni

Digging yesterday
to find ourselves

beyond expectation,

memories vivid
as rain to the blind,

living between rhythms,
trying to dance
to a tune:
we all
seem to know,

cannot quite

Amir Elzeni, USA

Sunday 22 March 2009

Resurrection by Lisa Zaran

Silent afternoon, nothing unusual
with the weather except a possible
chance of rain. Probably not.

I wash my car anyhow.

An entire world portraits itself
outdoors. Children hustle past
with little faces like thumbprints
on Gods memory.

I roll up the pant legs of my jeans,
get to the gladness of bubbles, white foam
on a red automobile. Think about the cost
of things. My daughters schooling, my sons
habits. My husbands countenance, even though

countenance is such an old fashioned word.
I practice thinness. Pretend to be so far gone
that even those who've never taken the time to notice,
notice me. How thin she is, they might exclaim.
I hardly recognize her elements.

I think I'll grow up now. Stop pretending
I am so far gone that love is an awkward myth.
I know it exists, can blossom
in bones so old, the body surrounding them
might burst into color
like a rose.

Take away love and our earth is a tomb, Browning wrote.

The scene now after the rain: children reemerge
as the chorus of their voices
sound like thunderclaps, faces shine
through broken clouds.

No chance of desultory weather.
No spot on redemption.
In my grief I think I'll re-wash my car.

Lisa Zaran, Arizona, USA

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Grackles by Robert Demaree

Persuaded by a bogus theology,
Believing that God inhabits all things,
We have at length given in to the grackles.
No longer do I tap at the window
Lest they devour seed meant for the goldfinches,
Who can take care of themselves.
The grackles cast an oily, blue-black glance:
You put up bird feeders? We’re birds! Where’s the problem?
Sadly, I no longer argue.
With the squirrels, though, it’s a different matter

Robert Demaree, USA

Monday 16 March 2009

Forgive the Birds by Paula Ray

They do not know
windswept cries
are anchor stones.

Even music poured
from wounded clouds lifts them;
unlike you and me.

Paula Ray, North Carolina, USA

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Haibun by Shirla White

A bird, both feet planted firmly on a telephone wire, stares into the lavender void that enfolds him. Every half-minute or so, he turns, as though orbiting a planet nestled under his wings, tugging on a string wrapped around the moon, lifting it up for the prairies. Tonight, he is Atlas' assistant, coaxing the cosmos to comply with tired nations.

the sleeping bird
with raised wings

Shirla White, Saskatchewan, Canada

Sunday 8 March 2009

Up-And-Doing by Christopher Barnes

(after This Unimportant Morning by Lawrence Durrell)

Leaving you
I open the door to a shift-work of bark beetles.
Sun’s cramped,
The crater’s knick-knack blue as it airs.

A cockleboat ruffles the orangey pool,
A sample mail van’s put-up.

In two hours I’ll relocate
A columbine thaw will suffuse
Over siltstone, sea wall
Reviving in pepper breath.

You pout away sleep
Deep space slackens its twirls,
An airborne miller moth
Will have its pupa.

Christopher Barnes, UK

Thursday 5 March 2009

Terrestrial Illuminations by Constance Stadler

(for Duane Locke)

Grass tuft, will you not speak to me?
A blue and brown tit jumped on my table
Near the Arno and shared
.........................My sandwich
As a full bosomed poppy floated by.
Wilted corn stalks in vermillion light
Thrill as magic
Snowy egrets dance in pond surrender
To cabbage palms.
Flickers seeking to mate rustle, uplift
The molting oak branch.
Baby black snakes break their eggs
And slither in new born delight.
Beetle, I watch you, too
And gasp at the black rainbows
That o'er span the black rivers
Of your glowing wings
Oh why when I, so willing to
Yield to the luminescent
Beckoning of the
Firefly promenade
Should be so sashayed by?
Beholding Blake's sedimentary infinities
The 'mind-forged manacles'
Slip, a bit.
.........But London comes
With Ferris Eye and
Carnival freak shows leaving
Me wistful
For wild swan glimpse
Refracted sky
In a puddle
Of stagnant rain water.

Constance Stadler, VA, USA

Sunday 1 March 2009

Burying the Dog by Taylor Graham

sonnenizio on a line from Frost

One of my wishes is that those dark trees,
their darker roots reaching into grassy swale,
be full of darkling birds at evening – phoebe,
nuthatch, thrush – to sing the bright-dark
elegies of greenwood. A place darkened
by bones leaching into rich dark earth held
fast by rock, dark as dead dogs gone. Here
the young buck pauses, dark-set eyes alert,
sniffs the air, then springs away into darker
shadow-thickets. As afternoon darkens
under passing clouds, the dark-light dance
of oak leaves rises to a darkening breeze.
Time for the dark homing. A young dog marks
his master’s call. Roots touch the deep darks.

Taylor Graham, California, USA