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