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