Monday 25 June 2012

Badak api* by Linda Hofke

in the deep forest,
surrounded by raging fires
an old Malaysian woman drops to
her knees, thrusts her hands outstretched to the
crescent moon and pleads,
badak api! badak api!“
but the flames continue to flicker and spread,
dance among the trees, twirling around her.
In the morning, this spot of forest
is reduced to tiny embers and the only trace of her
lies in warmed bones and powdery ash like the
ground-up horn of rhinoceros used by the medicine man
to combat fever and convulsion.
No mythical creature could have saved her
from the inferno. No mighty Sumatran rhinos dared to
answer her call for they must remain hidden
from the poachers who seek to rid them
of their pointy defenses; they have
no time to stamp out evening fires, even if one
desperate soul must succumb to extinction
a bit sooner than they.

*Though there has never been any evidence, there are legends about rhinoceros stamping out fire in Malaysia. This creature is called badak api in Malay. Badak means rhinoceros and api means fire.

Linda Hofke, Germany

Thursday 21 June 2012

Red Squirrel by Chris Crittenden

sputter and chip,
rebuke me with variants
of raucous croon,

you perky piccolo of fuss,
high on a spruce,
helming azure.

if i could shimmy, bristle,
and cackle like you,
besotted by the spirit of


would i, too, dash
from my own moods,
a child lost to daredevilry--

and forget the madness
of the mean world
through the quicksilver roan

of my flips?

Chris Crittenden, Maine, USA

Sunday 17 June 2012

American Goldfinch by Sean Ulman

flapping up flung carve (yellow yo-yo, coal dotted forehead) undulating mathematically culled wave =
lifts and dips on dotted line patrolling overgrown hedgerow hedged w/ crawling nestlings
piping potato chip dip potato chip dip in flight
perched, fluting indigo-bunting-like multi-syllable chimes drain-drowned in impalpable air caverns

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Moth Stream by Gary Every

The moon shines through my window at midnight
as I toss and turn, unable to sleep
but I am capable of dreaming plenty.
It is not the moon which keeps me awake
nor even the wind
which rattles the leaves in the trees
and shakes my window frame.
It is knowledge which gives me insomnia.
I have recently learned something startling.
Moths, tiny soft fuzzy winged insects,
can somehow sense the direction of the wind
and as the seasons change
so that the moths feel the need to migrate,
all the moths at once,
elevate a mile or two into the sky
where the breeze tosses the tiny airborne creatures
in the direction they wish to go,
hurling them swiftly,
as fast as sixty miles an hour.
How extraordinary it must be
to be so tiny and be flung so fast
and so far.
Do the moths have any grasp
of the massive geography they cover so quickly?
Outside my window nighttime flowers bloom,
trumpeting datura and white yuccas flickering atop their stalks
like candle flames,
beckoning for the moths to drop from the sky.
I lie awake at night unable to sleep
trying to imagine millions of moths
two miles above my bed
soaring through the air at sixty miles an hour,
cursed with insomnia
caught up in a streaming dream of moths.

Gary Every, Arizona, USA

Sunday 10 June 2012

Well Sprung by Jim Howe

I don’t remember
how old I was,
seven or eight,
when I first felt the urge
to capture
an enchanted being.
I caught him
in the gentle grasses
of our side yard.
Cupped in my right hand
he waited –
his antennae receiving signals
from distant worlds,
his cold eyes
measuring the texture of my skin,
his armor sparkling
in the shadows of my fingers,
his legs akimbo.
An emerging spirit
opened my prison.
I held out my hand
as straight as a diving board.
The grasshopper sprang
with power and grace:
a green arc
of parabolic escape.
It never knew
what it left behind:
a bonfire in my chest,
a salty koan,
a certain point
I couldn’t hold onto.

Jim Howe, IL, USA

Thursday 7 June 2012

Bumble by De Jackson

My son says the honeybees are dying. 
Some of those fat fuzzy fancy-free meandering ones, too. 
They’re getting sick, he says, voice thick with sadness.
I am not entirely up on these things. I assume
we have once again dusted our crops with poison or
overfilled one too many dumps or finally hair sprayed
our world into submission. Maybe they took one look
at our selfish hearts and their own simply stopped
beating. My boy is 9, loves all living things. I want to
tell him it will all be okay, that there are swarms
of scientists whose entire job it is to figure this out,
that he can be one of them someday if he wants
to, that surely someone, someday will find the cure
for our acute case of narcissism. I do tell him these
things, even as I wonder when the ‘birds and bees’
talk came to include such words as endangered and
extinct. And even as I taste the words on my own
tired tongue,
                   I hope to God I’m not lying. 

De Jackson, Nevada, USA

Sunday 3 June 2012

Mutualism by M P Jones IV

what do the honeybees
and the hummingbirds
think they are doing
as they dip and drop,
weaving the wind
in the red fringed
feathery fields of lace

in what language
does the fungal earth
thank its leafy grasses?

we are all
islands of misanthropy,
insular universes,
pillars of solitude,

but why, then,
do mitochondria flourish
in the sovereign nations
of our flesh,

and why do I yearn
in the stillest hours
for your breath on my skin?

M P Jones IV