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