Sunday 28 November 2010

A Sung Dynasty Landscape by David Chorlton

The ancients in their mist
sitting by an ink block
at the tip of a meditation
created mountains with a stroke
quick as wind crossing silk

while they left empty space
to flow from their scrolls
into infinity
which we
in our time have discovered

to be smaller by the year
soon to weigh no more
than the snow on a sparrow’s back

when it touches down
in winter and we say
what a relief we thought
there were no more of them.

David Chorlton, Arizona, USA

Thursday 25 November 2010

A Curtain of Wine Bottle Tops by Mavis Gulliver

Africa Remix Exhibition

Down the high wall
folds fall
an undulating hem
across the floor.
Glints of gold
ribbons of red
slivers of silver
draw the eye
the dimly lit gallery.

by the surface shine,
no-one notices
the flickering shadows
on the wall behind.

But I watch them
like the moonlit ghosts
of dead drunkards.

Mavis Gulliver, Scotland

Monday 22 November 2010

McDiver's Creek by Donal Mahoney

Autumn’s over.
Wheatcake odors flood the wood

front porch. Andrew Block,
in mackinaw and overalls,

tamps first tobacco of the day
and estimates his morning.

In an open field beyond McDiver’s Creek
a colt, palomino apricot and snow,

nips grass between great gallops
and the shock of trees.

Donal Mahoney, MO, USA

Friday 19 November 2010

Mustang by Kevin Heaton

I am all that you have lost,
and will never understand.

I filled my lungs with freedom
and was grateful. I bolted

unsaddled across the wind
with happy spirits on my back,

and we shared as brothers.
I quenched my thirst in mystical

waters flowing from the inner
core of life, and I gave thanks.

I raced over hills and through
canyons in dream visions

of the people, and they told
of my valor. Now you shod me

with iron, and tangle my pride
in lariats of bondage.

I was the freedom you cannot

Kevin Heaton, SC, USA

Tuesday 16 November 2010

A Peppermint Tree by Lee Stern

I think I should have a peppermint tree to show for everything.
And I think I should have it now.
The fact that they don’t make peppermint trees
shouldn’t even enter into it.
I expect you to deliver it to me
and send me a card telling me that it’s on the way.
If you tell me where to put it, that’ll be a plus.
But I’m so used to you not saying anything
that, if I have to figure it out myself,
I won’t get excited. And I won’t blame you.
Because I know you have enough to worry about.
And you don’t need me to chime in with more aggravation.
So you don’t have to say anything.
Just show up with the peppermint tree
and I’ll consider that you’ve done your job.
I’ll consider that there’s a forest somewhere.
Maybe loosely tied together with dust in its hands.
And its angels are whispering your name.

Lee Stern, California, USA

Saturday 13 November 2010

The Exoneration by Angel Zapata

The storm fluctuates, edges closer to sterling.
Turbid rolls of nebulous sheets charcoal and tumbleweed,
spin furious as leaves strike magnetic gold.
I count the seconds between the miles.

The moon plucks a star from its eye like a thorn.
The pitch is ambrosia and midnight;
a canopy of liquid umbrellas melting to a fold.
I am wet from the effort of raising this tide.

A rumble, like the smooth hands of the deaf on a speaker,
stirs the porcelain cauldron, the brew in my delicate cup.
I am thirsty for vowels, for consonant intoxication,
but it’s always coffee he grinds.

This kitchen is tile and plaster, linoleum and stainless steel.
I am fragile stone frozen in my pine chair.
My husband thinks I ignore his pleas for redemption.
He is only beginning to understand the storm.

Angel Zapata, Georgia, USA

Sunday 7 November 2010

Moon lines by Rachel Fox

The moon will get more blurred, not less
And more and more I'll look in vain
For edges
And reasons

Old errors lose their lines and shapes
Leave flashes, not whole cycles
There are peaks
And troughs

I see how all is blending thick
Mixing, slurring, soup-of-lifeing
Is it done yet?
Is it right?

I stir, I eat, I look, I sleep
I dream of moons that fill the sky
With brightness
With courage

Rachel Fox, Scotland

Thursday 4 November 2010

Talking about it by Mairi Sharratt

It is the silence between the words
where much is said. But her mouth
could not form the sounds
that surround its deep lapping.

Her mind could not speak them to her.
Instead it would glimpse a single frame
of what happened.

Quick enough so not to relive,
but still, it ripples through her day.

Mairi Sharratt, Edinburgh, Scotland

Monday 1 November 2010

Day of the Dead by Sergio Ortiz

On the day of the dead, Pablo put his pants on one mummified foot at a time. It wasn't his fault; rain was the true culprit. Clouds followed his feet for years, poured whenever he tried to cut bread in the city of glass. His soles cracked, sprouted roots. Julia entertained on her balcony, levitated intimate secrets. People on Beaker Street attributed her faculties to a santero visiting her family on the day she was born. She stood tall and elegant like the mountains to the south of Pablo's home. Her face had all the traces of an unforgettable pain. Julia found the last bottle of rum hidden in the trash before the wedding. She bled her life into that gutter. Pablo was one mummified foot at a time closer to banging pots and starvation, orders from the dictator. They are gone, but I keep their marriage vows to read aloud on the day of the dead.

Sergio Ortiz, Puerto Rico
previously published in Yellow Medicine Review