Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Scrub land, south of AJB Ranch

by Don Thompson

Was it crows in their black
soutanes, relentless Jesuits,
or was it random night prowlers
that picked the fur to pieces,
bit by bit,
and scattered the rabbit’s carcass
across half an acre?

Or was it the finger of God
sorting through flesh and bone
to find something numinous,
something that belongs only to Him?

Ripe

by Harry Youtt

The vined tomato begins at last
its crimsoning down into color, deeper and finer,
no longer that green-to-fire-engine-red way

it used to have – of trying to seem
all-grown-up – ready too soon.

But now, with a skin-split-yearning to be devoured,
on the verge of having fallen to the dusty ground, yet
stem-clinging by force of its own will – to be perfect.
Praying for discovery. Now! Only now!

Before this, it was too early.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Word

by Linda Golden

Terebinth, it echoes as it bounces off his tongue
Pulling an ancient memory from the marrow, hiding
Under the wings of forgotten prayers, cascading through
Channels of genetic magma, scorching incarnations
As if they were mere in and out breaths instead of whole
Lifetimes
Dotting the hills of Judea, framing the structure of living
Warming in winter, providing shade in lengthening days
Naming a tree, how far back does that go
Who thought such sounds to go with such a being
Whose rough bark and sinewy roots drink holy water
Holding forever secrets of what they have seen

The Twelfth Month

by David Chorlton

The sky across the desert
in December darkens; lined with ice
it passes from a mountain’s edge
to a storm of needles
on flat and open land. Each drop

of morning rain
is speared by one as it descends
and holds its place
as long as there is light inside it.
A shower brushes up against

a windgust searching
for a canyon, but which finds
only the frost blackened
hawk taking leave of a cloud.

Niwa, The Garden (for NT)

by Ed Hack

Niwa, she says. The garden always waits
for you, is there inside the silence you
long for. The path will lead you to a gate
where Bamboo chat in dialect the news
the wind conceals. And round into the sun
you'll walk as light leaps into emptiness
where everything is born. There is no sum,
no calculation there, no need to guess,
no right or wrong. There's just the path that flows,
the boulders where the kami live, the stones
that are the water's secret self that glow
in ocean glints and shimmer into foam.
Be still and you'll be there, she says. It waits
for you to walk the path, come through the gate.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Uncertainty of Winter

by M.J.Iuppa

No snow blooms on hedges    

Everywhere is green— sudden    
rash of magnolia buds, tipped
silver, candles morning’s light

Beauty, briefly spent  

West Side Canal, Freeborn Intake

by Don Thompson

The fog has held off, so far,
clinging to the hills
until it thins to commonplace haze
an hour after dawn.
It’s not quite the season.

But soon, when the oyster white sun
is too feeble to resist,
the fog will close in, will inundate
every solid thing we need
to make sense of ourselves—

blurring our certainties
until we know
how ancient seafarers must have felt
coming at last to the end
of their flat earth.


Zazen

by Larry Jones

still the mind with meditation
know
you are the universe
then
continue selling vacuum cleaners.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice

by Carl Mayfield

the ravens lift off
from the conifer
when shoes
scrape the gravel
at dawn

intrusion is a failure
of bones rattling
into a presence
which alarms the feathers
into wise flight

who is surprised
at the sound
of two feet emerging
from night's dream
more than me

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Najimi

by Ed Hack

The winds are busy in the trees. Some give
so easily, the feathered ones. Some nod,
while other's don't, the old, who've outlived
centuries, gnarled and weatherworn, the gods
right after Time began, who gave a shape
to emptiness, perhaps are emptiness,
as Lao Tzu insists. The Garden shows fate's
signature--shadows, ripples, wind's caress
or ripping teeth, najimi, balance, in
what's here--old stone against the water's play,
the light and dark, the soft and fierce, the yin
and yang of all there is, not one lost stray
is possible, and all things on their way
to something else, for nothing ever stays.

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

beneath the owl's wings
wintry air
trees lashed with shadow
and at its edge
the river runs slower

A Trip to the Ocean

by Julie Ramon

Wind and seagulls make everyone else
seem far away, and the near, only passing
headlights. Here, it rains in the morning.
Waves bring shells and crabs to the shore.
It accepts everything we don’t. Feet are placed
carefully. We have sticks to poke things
we don’t understand. One morning, we found
a horseshoe crab and rolled it over. It’s legs moved
like a typewriter and made us jump.
Without understanding, you picked it up
and chucked it into the water breaking the smooth
surface between waves, understanding
that certain things don’t belong in certain places,
like us. And, you took my hand
worried it would come back and knew
you would be alright if I was there,
and we were walking towards Missouri.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Neighborhood Garden

by Catfish McDaris

Rabbits ate okra
wrens ate tiny sunflowers
chipmunks ate green beans.

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

white ghosts whirling
towards morning
waking to a cold fire and a dark room
an honest wind rattling the door
and the distance filling with snow

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hummingbird

by Carl Mayfield

From olive tree to conifer
across a pale September sky;
he's changing not before my eyes
but behind his, his heart hammering
a portrait faster than any brush
can stroke, his true colors
swimming in iridescence.

Autumn apocalypse

by Ed Higgins

Beneath maples, oaks, and birches
an autumn apocalypse empties unruly brightness
onto lawns, sidewalks, the shoulders of watchers
and passers by. Whole drifts of madder yellow,
reds, and earth browns loosed to mould and
the gardener’s insufficient rake. By twos, twenties,
more, November jolted branches loose their color.
It is summer’s final uncoiling, fall’s harsh rhetoric
of leaf upon leaf let down, turning apex, flat margin,
base, serrated edges, settling, scattered to ground into
mellifluent lost syntax. Branch, trunk, and root hoard
only green memory now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Alchemy

by Stefanie Bennett

How extraordinary:
When light
Fractures light
The dusk shimmers.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

raw night --
window frost muffles
the moon's face

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

sunbeams  --
a flurry of sparrows
in the pine

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

First Winter Snow

by Catfish McDaris

Birch trees full of black
feathered blue headed grackles
dancing on the wind

Fluttering up down
naked snowy ice branches
all flakes different

Blowing cold smoke rings
my shovel resting awhile
kids make snow angels.

Lines

by Angelee Deodhar

camp fire-
lichen softens stumps
tree after tree

Sunday, November 29, 2015

What do you know about water?

by Emily Ramser

Did you know that in 5th grade,
I sang my very first song 
in a school presentation 
and that it was about transpiration,
and did you know that 
my father doesn’t know how to swim

and did you know that my little brother
will only drink soda or sweet tea

and did you know that my mother 
lives in a state that doesn’t have any available water 

and did you know that there are trees 
called tributaries 
with branches made of streams?

Capsized

by M.J.Iuppa

Beneath a black willow, a wooden boat
stuck in sand & snakegrass appears
broken by years of work on water
that trembled with weather, ripe
& ready to diminish any net’s haul,
leaving you with rain in your ears—
marking the place where you stopped
irrevocably to listen to wind’s consuming
laughter that soon became your tears.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Early Santa Ana

by Heidi Morrell

This night the atmospheric caveats
come in gently like Chopin;
a dry breeze lifts hairs
rustling them like tiny leaves.

Santa Ana bathes the skin
with its aerial wash through the canyons,
canyon tongues that spit their gusts
into the huge Angeles basin,
a basin no longer wild with
arching ferns and alluvial fans,
mugwort and lily, tides and spring floods.

But the wind is still here,
stroking or maddening
with its heaves, sighs or curt salutes,
speaking in sepia tones
thrown into the sky.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lines

 by Joanna M. Weston

a plum falls
into my hand -
empty jars

Harvest

by Clinton Siegle

Harvest falls time changes orange to black colors sways
arrival of remembrance of the past days.
Reality seeds growing taking 100 days.
Vegetables cooked in 100 and one ways.

Eternity sprouts seeds of hope during these day's
season changes from green with orange to black day's
time for some spirits to be forewarned of past time's ways
harvest time prayer time on its way

almost winter time
real life to death time
vivid color changing time
eternity of hope in seed gathering time.

Seasonal difference time to harvest
time to harvest seeds for next harvest

Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Untended Field

by Taylor Graham

A poor harvest from the garden
this year, water rationing
because of drought. Deer ate the few
just-ripening tomatoes.
The squash never blossomed.

Today, in November’s first soft rain
that derelict field – burned sun-dry
in June and left for dead – is suddenly
fragrant with the sweet plain scent
of life. Cheatgrass, chicory, wild oat.

Visual Aid

by Karla Linn Merrifield

Complexity is underrated,
the trees teach us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lines

by Kelley J. White

twilight—like clattering
bones, dry branches of winter
hint of pinecones

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Playing Dead

by Peter Branson

This autumn’s late, treescape and hedge dolled up
in party clothes. Dead wood’s been cleared, assailed
by snarling blade, teeth pulling torque and chain,
ploughed out, yet here’s an elm, its time well spent,
the sun-bleached corpus overlooked, as stark
as lightening tempered by a winter sky.
Like antlers, mast and gallants glow as white
as bone; some velvet bark clings on below.
Though dry as honeycomb in crumbling boards,
woodpecker holes beyond, like eyes in skulls,
the sculpted trunk’s a totem pole of lust.
Inside, where lichen feast and fungi dine,
vast confluence of creatures thrive, for, in
the wake of death, this constant wanton tide.

The Buck’s Baksheesh

by Maureen Kingston

The tar lake that was once our mountaintop is now a vast fly trap, catcher and dissolver of all that passes by. “Our dues have been paid,” the mine owner says on closing day. “Let reclamation commence.” He waves a red flag. A top lander in the distance kneels at the lake’s edge, dumps a load of bait into the slag. As though on cue a buck skull surfaces nearby, offers itself to the crowd: a form of alms, a corroded coin bobbing in an earthen begging bowl.

The brandling worms go to work, lovingly bristle industrial gunk from the skull’s black planes. We watch transfixed as the coal-ash apple is polished slick, as wriggling minstrels tell tall tales of healing in spit gleam, in slime rings, their sole mission to revamp vile with splenetic sieve and shimmy. The script they leave behind unsettles our settled notions of death and decay. And for an instant we almost believe in extended warranty—that deer herds might once again browse our vale; that our gardens might grow deformity-free.

Hope spasms through us, waves of insurgent murmurs, phantom lures, the flutter of old flames we can’t help pining for. We know better. The composter’s creed’s just another in a long line—a salvage come-on—no different than the saloon god’s many promises to intercede, his prayer cards always written in gin song and bluffer’s ink. Or worse, penned the morning after, too late to save enlightenment from its shot-gunned fate. We know. We don’t want to know.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wasting Potatoes

by David Subacchi

Conformity and consistency
By words of mass production.
The harvesting machine
Wastefully leaves to rot
The too large or too small
For failing to meet
The ‘Supermarket Standard’.

Before mechanization
Eager hands picked
Potatoes of every size.
Food for hungry mouths
Unconcerned with uniformity.
The same still in those lands
Not yet reached by exploitation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Mexico Harvests

by Tricia Knoll

Beneath the searing dryness of the sun
the well-padded mestizo man paddled
in the iron pool at Ojo Caliente, recovering
from pressing cider. He moved
his arms as if they knew no other way
to circle. He spoke of blue corn, posole,
and today it was cider. So many apples.

The widow, lips chapped and cracked,
tugs vines in her waist-high vegetable bed
snarled with pumpkins and beans.
Her co-housing partners watch
thanksgiving coming on.

The deer sneak at midnight
to eat apples that thunk
down during the day.
They leave their pellets
and slink off
like clouds around the moon.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Harvest - Book of Hours

by Terrence Sykes

Vellum fertile fields script
our hours of the day
staved upon the stars
parchment of fallowed seasons

altared memories
ambered remembrance
shattered shards
petrified recollections
gathered stones
clutter the cairn
bound to earth
binding fate

tracts of faith
nettle laden
boundary ditches
hail descends
proxied by Judas
mizzle & char
unleavened
humus & hymns

harp silently
annunciating
missal prayers
dreams of harvest
bleeding seeds onto
the very earth

Autumn Treasure

by Bubba Chambers

Beards, mossy grey, sway to the rhythm of chilled breezes,      
trees without leaf, skeletal forms, cryptic beauty casts her spell.      
Hoary forest, aged sleep, unaware my silent trespass.
Oak and ash need repose, dare I disturb their slumber?

An old cow cranes her neck over barbed wire.
she knows where the grass is greener.
Hay field wrapped and tightly bailed,
awaiting the next harvest.

Frost tonight? Maybe, to cover autumn’s beauty.              
But white brings beauty of its own, achromatic color fleeting;
as it melts and hides inside the earth
leaving faces brown and ocher.

Leave the rose and buttercup to those who love the spring.
Naked landscape cold and barren, bring to us delight.
Sometimes things treasured least, conceived through frosted pane
muted colors of the fall, attendant once again.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Plums in August

by Dawn Claflin

This year, our plums
ripen early, unruly summer sun
maturing them by mid-August.

We are not ready.

But, the magnetic draw of tree-ripe fruit
attracts us,
to stand outside on rickety chairs and race
spiders and bees and wasps for
every oval, lovely under their silver blush,
secreted among so many leaves.

Each plum serves:
jammed, dried, or eaten whole,
our house transformed into a perfumery of fruit,
the smell clinging to our hair, our clothes, our skin,
sheets of our beds and even shower water
thick with the heady scent
of plums,
two weeks early.

Hays Coppices

by Peter Branson

Where youth is drilled in ranks, green copse, as yet
un-thinned, or cropped at root, or pruned head height,
stands proud, where Mulch-Dick, elfric, dryad, hob-
thrush, Churnmilk Peg abide, rouse loud hosan-
nas for the lord of light, I raise this psalm.

Late autumn, dawn, a hostage to the night,
has broken bounds, line dancing wild delight
with darkness in retreat, his coppered feet
stirred embers glowing on a charging breeze,
like flick’ring pages from the Book of Kells.

Each step resolves a moving screen, sun strobe
between gaunt, pewter-clad  George Greens, wall-eyed
young squaddies on crusade, who guard, straight-bat,
defy importunate desire, this blind-
ing woodland glade, the midnight fox on fire.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lines

by Ali Znaidi

they gather
plums...
their own shadows

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

bamboo reed---
          yellow finches
   taking what they need

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

starless night --
a wolf's howl breaks
the silence

Cosmic Quiet

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In space, all is still.
Distant stars twinkle brightly
The cosmos spins life.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Promised Meeting by the Riverbank

by Taufiq Abdul Khalid

Bring your bigotry and your hooded hate,
And I will find us a spot on the riverbank,

Bring your usury and their collateralized tears,
And I will find us a spot on the riverbank,

Bring your religion and other excuse for hubris,
And I will find us a spot on the riverbank,

Bring your guns and trophies of the hunt,
And I will find us a spot on the riverbank,

Bring your carbon credit and other deceits,
And I will find us a spot on the riverbank,

Bring your good and your bad,
Your cloudy skies and your sunshine,

Bring all your rights and your wrongs,
To a spot I will find on the riverbank,

In the Garden of mercy
Where we all belong.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Piece of Quartz

by Taylor Graham

Glittering in autumn light, it recommends
silence. This October morning,
everything seems to wait like the loneliness
of stones. The dry creek dreams
of sipping water in tiny song. Rain leaves it
alone. Sun sublimates the water-dish
put out for lizards and frogs, too shallow
a trough. No matter to stones,
a decade of drought. Crystal remembers
the longest tales. How young
these creekbanks, undercut, re-carved
each time a flood tears out fences,
overwhelms the swale, digs up old bones.
Ancient naturalist, this stone.

Green House Harvest

by Ed Higgins

Rich tilth of organic mushroom compost
     from the large pile near the barn. Delivered
twice yearly from the mushroom farm
     two miles upwind from us.

An attentive courtesy for when summer breezes
     drift our way, bringing dark scents of mixed
 straw and chicken manure. This morning’s harvest
     snap peas, beets and lemon tomatoes

growing in this fertile medium. Through my
     fingertips I diligently fill my garden trug:
peas first, then beets (shaking off the soil), finally
     lush yellow tomatoes from fruit-heavy vines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

after the storm
     two pears
         somehow

Lines

by JS Absher

late October
in the bend of the river
one red tree

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anticipating winter

by Ed Higgins

Today there are definite signs:

grey sky and clouds
their core dark as sorrow

torrent rain driven aslant
against the barn’s side

swollen Yamhill creek
furious with water

another v of geese
over the farm this morning

the plowed field soggy underfoot
fixed on distant May

a hawk hung in chill October air
like a narrow winged thought.

Goldfinch

by Terrence Sykes

pentecostal
cloaked
laden
maple tree
nested
goldfinch
obese
from fallen
caraway harvest
obsidian wings
feathered flock
wild mustard
dancing amongst
evening breezes

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Filling The Silo

by Joyce Lorenson

from every farm
up and down the valley
the long drawn out whine
of corn choppers
still air in
a state of fermentation
flurries of fodder fall
from the auger
a ripe liquor drains
from the trembling chute
the season's harvest
from the cows
a flush of fresh milk

Long shadows cross the fields

by Maury Grimm

Long shadows cross the fields, gold against the grey sky. The days shorten with a color so intense even the cottonwoods stark green and intricate blacks of branches stand like sculptures in the slow evening light.

The chickens scratch about in the garden. I talk to them through the open window. We have made some sort of bond now, even Łizhiní cocks his head when I speak to them. I tell him he is a good boy and he relaxes, closes his eyes. He is an amazingly good rooster.

The wind is up now. The newly planted hoop with winter vegetables shivers and the sudden cold makes me think of closing windows.

But I am not ready yet, to close out the wind, the light.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Aspen Trail

by David Chorlton

Summer’s ending in the forest
with its secret ferns and warblers
whose songs come from deeper
than light can reach;
                              ending on the meadow
in high country
that sways between aspens and pines,
and on the path
                          worn into grass
along the way to the edge
with a raptor’s view down:
                                     a panorama
held tight in a claw.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lines

by Terrence Sykes

crickets & cicada
chant autumnal
secular vespers

Wild Fire

by Marilyn Braendeholm

Fire takes its opportunities.
Wind-burning-whipped bridges 
of smoke on rising spinets of fury. 
Rise and fall, flakes of flame and ash 
scattering weather, then swept
and settled to fall scorched. And 
as fire grows, the wind sings dark. 
The heat endured but not so darkness, 
nor that noise. Aerolites fall into 
throaty pits, as fire draws darkness 
in its parchment heart.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eleven Suicide Seeds

by Taufiq Abdul Khalid

Where are the rivers mighty?
Where are the lakes serene?
Where are the bears hibernating?
Where are the badgers biting?
Where are the meadows blooming?
Where are the fishes in the sea?
Where are the lions in the plains?
What have you done to them all?
Now who will you seek to blame?
What have you wrought in your greed?
What have you sown in the fields?
I hate but ate your answers!
These suicide seeds,
Your suicide seeds,
Your Suicide...and
Now.... mine.

Full Moon

by Doug Draime

rain drops
on tulips

dark red
as roses

Swamp Psalm of the Water Sprite

by Karla Linn Merrifield

The Fakahatchee is my shepherdess;
I shall not want for canopied swamps.
She maketh me to submerge below profligate
fronds and tendrils.
She leadeth me into still waters.
She restoreth my arid hope.
She leadeth me along slow flowing
strands of wildness for her faith sake.
Yea, though I wade through the valley
in the shadows of fishing spiders
beside alligator ponds, I fear not greed,
for thou, green queen, art with me, in me.
Thy sword ferns and ghost orchids
do comfort me.
Thou preparest a cypress stand before me
in the cool space of my heart.
Thou annointest my soul with dew.
My dream runneth over in liquid light.
Surely chlorophyll and oxygen
shall follow me all the breaths of my life
and I shall dwell in thy habitat
of epiphyte, lichen and moss—forever.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A prism of light

by Maury Grimm

A prism of light graces the San Juans over La Manga pass to the West as the sun breaks through the clouds, a shard. Winter birds line the wires and the horses head to the watering trough.

This overcast sky makes the morning warm as I slip out, bare-toed, to the chickens who are not yet roused awake.

This may be a day of more inside than out, but there is the catching up on cleaning garlic, storing potatoes, stripping the leaves and flowers of the dried herbs, clearing and organizing for the next round of tomatoes, rose hips, marigold and calendula flowers. And maybe after this round of rain, the mountains will proffer another round of mushrooms to dry.

And when to plant the garlic, lay down the red clover seed on the worn potato bed? Another day. Another day.

Valleys of Life, Echoed

by Laurie Kolp

The gods call life
after death
life after
the calling of all things
secret.
Take innocence—
trade it
for guilt after death
after life:
the endangered one
slides down mountain
to death valley
and lives.

Burial for Seamen

by Tom Sheehan

Tonight I think of Jonathan Diggs and how he salts the Atlantic, how the horse of his voice shakes the water from the underneath, cracks the rocks the small fist of Nahant left-jabs in the ocean.

The dory came riding in high and free as a cracker box, the oars gone, locks ripped away as if he had broken all his muscles on them, the anchor gone as Davy’s gift, not even a handful of line left in the loop.

One inconspicuous mark gathered in the final counting: JD9. It was Jonathan’s ninth boat, and the first to outlive him, the first to come back without that oarsman.

Seventy-year old men do not swim all night, do not ride on top like debris caught on the incoming tide, do not materialize on-shore once they are that wet.

They go down like Jonathan Diggs, shaking their fists at the Atlantic, shouting the final obscenity they have waited all this time to use, knowing the exact moment to employ it. They send a sound running along water lines, burst it into sea shells, sing it as a tone of surf busting all September nights when ocean listeners count for sailors.

They become the watery magnet pulling men from inland fields, in turn are magnetized by moon’s deep clutch on the rich pastures of the sea, and sleep then only in tight caves, soundless and dark in their wearing away.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

U.S. 50

by Karla Linn Merrifield

A smooth satin road unspools
across the corrugated torso
of Nevada in summer morning,
light rising in a state of cloudlessness.

It unfurls through sage-dusted basin
and over juniper-draped range;
its length unwinds and unwinds.
Onto eight soft-shouldered summits,

into alkali flats of as many
high desert valleys, the macadam
takes on a golden patina as it rolls
above the gold of stone-studded foothills.

The ribbon twists into vast landscapes, finding:
the turquoise ore in me, the copper lode in you.

I Am Meltwater.

by Angi Holden

April’s sun blossoms the hillsides. Its gentle warmth coddles
the icy hollows, and streams dribble through tangles of couch grass.
The breeze drifts over the fells, carries the songs of distant mountains:
Scafell, Helvellyn, Skiddaw. It stirs me, spins me, swirls me.
I tumble down the rockface, gasp for air, splash and splatter against outcrops.
I grasp light and cast aside its fragments, I thrust and whirlpool:
rub, erode, abrase, before plunging on, handrailing across the geology of ancients,
landscapes scarred by wind and weather. Lower there is mud, soft as flesh,
pathways, a tracery of footprints. I am pulled into the river’s eddy,
my chill and rainwater’s sweet balm mingling, flowing, seabound.

Rain, Spark, Cycle

by Richard D. Hartwell

Up-thrust, boulder-rough hills
after late spring’s last runoff;
dirt between veins of granite,
seeded with grasses, flowers
in wild profusion, abandoned.

Such profligate plentitude makes
for a profusion of wildlife fauna:
an overpopulation awaiting their
seared starvation as brittle stubble
expires, scoured by a relentless sun.

Hills turned into fodder for fire
needing only slight provocation,
ignition from outside intervention;
flames eat all to ashen gray, stony
hills turn silver in the orange dusk.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

within Roe Wood

by Kate Garrett

your feet pound
   streets, pavements
     bus stops – the urban

  blur heading
for bluebells

   as you slip downhill
 & into the shadow

     of leaves (curled fingers
unfurling green)

   race the brook
along its obstacle
        course:

  forgotten blue
   bicycles, lawnmower
engines & plastic

     bottles without
  a single message inside

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

hunter's moon --
a buck blends into
the yarrow

End of Summer

by M.J.Iuppa

By dusk, swallows
disappear–  the barn door
left open a crack.

Now gunshot
marks distance,
close range.

Estranged hour
each second
a lost eyelash.

Work? Anyplace.
A stand of spruce
wears darkness.

Tongue
against palette
issues

small airs
there, there
consoles loneliness–

the clock’s click,
the moth’s
wobble

going mad
for the lamplight’s
humor.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

You have named me

by Emily Ramser

At night,
you hold me in your arms,
and whisper my name:

Gaia,
Terra,
Earth,
and
Mother,

and when I awake,
you have named me anew
under the birth of the sunrise.

Lines

by Joanna M. Weston

fall morning …
blackberry jam
simmering

Endings

by Patricia Williams

Baskets of bridal-white begonia and container-grown
red impatiens, convey late summer lushness, yet
indicate human invasion; clumps of daylilies
bloom orange, in messy half-order.
Watery stems and fragile buds go limp,
signal an irrepressible first frost.

Patches of sunlight dapple the driveway
imposed on the land, but broken by natural ice heaving;
the mowed yard, once forest cover, remains a pathway
for undeterred deer on their way from the swamp
and turkey trains that move across north ridges.

The cat makes painful sounds, mourning his companion,
her frail old body found on the back bedroom floor
a few weeks ago, twenty-one years of greeting the dawn.

Hindsight

by Richard D. Hartwell

Once was beauty as the Coos and Coquille Rivers merged
into the sinuous estuarine paths emptying into Coos Bay.

Now deep-water tugs languish awaiting empty freighters as
the lumber industry falters from the ravages of clear-cutting.

Automated ply and lumber companies have driven thousands to
outlaw shake mills, poaching, weed farms, desertion, and suicide.

Late afternoon and gray scud slowly
closes out blue sky and green water,

The world turns slate and dreams are held
together by only the most tenuous breath.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Leaning into Autumn

by Rachel Nix

The cool mornings linger
in the hollows, where the land
dips and divides, waiting
for the day to arrive—

the South cannot shake
the humid breath of sunlight.

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

sunflower husks --
the sharp cry
of a kestrel

In Cumberland Valley

by JD DeHart

Life exists high
on the mountain, plants growing
sparse in the mouths of rock.
Bits of scrub emerge as
the slope curves down to earth.
All is verdant in  the valley.
A small pool of water
collects experience.  A community
gathers in the shadow, blotting
out the high winds and massive
snows that blow in.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

eroding riverbank
by summer's end
the aged tree
sends up a shoot

The tomatoes are in hoop houses

by Maury Grimm

The tomatoes are in hoop houses, as well the fall planted crops. Wire around plants I don't want trampled. And all the birds, turkeys and chickens, roam freely about the place. I can too, all the fence barriers opened up.

Łizhiní and I are more comfortable around each other day-by-day and now Molly is laying eggs behind an old stump in the Quelites. She is not nesting on them, so that is good. Five eggs today from two of the girls, and they are getting bigger. Who ever said chickens do not like grass lied. They slurp the tender greens and I am praying they discover the wealth of grasshoppers.

Peanut and Red--the turkeys--range around from front to back. This eve they are playing back by the truck, whirling around, Peanut chasing Red and then vice versa.

It felt good to get this done today, to get the garden and grasshoppers in better control, one hopes.
Red & Peanut just now outside the window. I greet them. Red seems less nervous and more friendly and I think tomorrow to trim his toenails. They are in bad need; he has a hard time roosting.
This is new to me. I have had ducks, rabbits and other small animals, but never chickens and turkeys. And never free-ranging.

I can tell all are happy to have full range around the place, fences down, no walls. There is so much to forage from Currants to young Amaranth, Purslane and Quelites. I have left some Sorel, too as I know the chickens love them along with the Oregano. I chastise them all, "Bugs, eat those grasshoppers."

They take up different aspects around the place, and sometimes it seems the turkeys herd the chickens, and then the chickens herd the turkeys.

Fences and walls. Sometimes we create them to protect what we love. However, they have to come down to allow those we love to grow. As my mother all ways said, "Fences were made for people that can't fly."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Grub Worm

by Al Ortolani

The rain that has been building all morning begins to tap the window. The sash, raised to allow the garden into the bedroom, is enough of a poem for anyone. Ink can only imitate these first drops, the quiet within the curtained room, the breeze kneading muscle, the drizzling calm. Blue jays swing through the sycamore. Already yellowed, its heavy leaves, thickened at the stem, fall like birds.

the spider’s web
collects rain drops, a mist
of late tomatoes

Lines

by JS Absher

rain cupped
in a sycamore leaf
the wind sips and flies

Sacramento Valley, August

by Taylor Graham

Everything’s a map to get-away.
A/C = 4 rolled down at 70 mph w/o a Delta breeze.
Freeway to arterial to cutoff to the mouth
of some tributary valley, up ladders of streambed
rock, meandering between willow and oak
remembering how it ran in winter spate – dry now
like all the little valleys emptied into this
great basin, too broad to see hills on the other
side. Ridges, canyons – figments of flatland haze.
All the map shows down here are roads
going somewhere  – not wayward paths of memory.
Like salmon, I recite the way in my blood,
tracing back to beginnings, a valley where I live.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Embrace of Trees

by Michael H. Brownstein

How powerful to swim into your arms.
How steadfast and stubborn. The curl of your palm.
One finger finding another. A gathering
Of love’s flesh like the glorious crown of a tree
Reaching beyond a fence of silver brush
And goldenrod to lay a hand of leaf
Upon a friendly arm and find whatever wonder
Lives in the wind, the brightest day, a cool evening.
The squirrels at play. The murmur of doves.
A warmth turning everything valuable into God.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Daylily

by Donal Mahoney

Blooming for one day
a lily welcomes the sun.
Bumblebees drop in.

Lines

by Kelley J. White

soon enough
this path too
blocked with thorns


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Orchid

by Doug Draime

touching, like falling
  through foggy, foggy clouds
of utter shit storms,

holds movement and
      perpetuates movement

all at once.
Where in bright sunlight
an orchid, caresses.

Lines

by JS Absher

steady drizzle
silence of the katydids
keeps me awake

Schneider Valley, September

by Taylor Graham

Outside our tent, ice on the water bucket,
old-paper tinge to the willow-thicket.
The creek that cuts this meadow never forgot
its snowmelt rush down Little Round Top,
snowbanks blocking the road till end of June.
And then the flowers came, so many
shades of paintbrush, larkspur, columbine –
a hiker might think he’d climbed to heaven.
Now lupine’s gone to pod, a cold easterly
rattles mules-ears along the trail. I can believe
again in snow. Time to break camp?
The raven says, “while you can, go home.”

Thursday, September 17, 2015

In the arroyo

by Miriam Sagan

In the arroyo
just one
sneaker

a metallic wind in the garden of marimbas

plastic bags flutter like prayer flags caught on barbed wire

gamelon of the river fills with rain after drought

Summer Snow

by Donal Mahoney

A row of lilacs
covered with a summer snow.
Ten white butterflies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Par Avion

by M.J.Iuppa

Over the lake this morning, clouds
appear dinghy white, like a blanket
slipping off the foot of an unmade
bed without a shhh—
                         Still, clouds thicken—
rolling folds drop to the horizon’s
blue mail slot that’s waiting for
an envelope addressed to you.


Hill of the Blue Goose

by Tom Sheehan

The hill
steals lightning,
sees Boston stand up
after catching a haymaker.
This morning caught geese
like runaway shoes, tongue screech,
traffic cop calls and winter
ticket stub lost in a pocket;
has mirrors of yesterday’s thighs
the moon of the seventh of July
of our lord of “Forty-five
touched with its butter,
shows her inclined to me
and tilt of the hill.
Her thighs still count the thrust.

The cops
broke up a card game
on the left shoulder, toward the river
and West Lynn, in ‘Thirty-nine;
the pot’s never surfaced.
Now a specter in tight pants
sells angel dust, gives
green stamps.
Has new options on street war:
use hammers, screwdrivers, no sunlight.
Night kisses the hill with lonely.
Do not be lured there.
No pig in a poke.

Has anyone seen
Frank Parkinson lately,
meant to die outside Tobruk
in the mutilating horrors of the sands,
but didn’t? Hangs on the hill
like cloud root, spills images,
has literate left hand, flies
with the awesome geese.
Oh, Frankie!

Throws hill shadow
ominous as dice toss;
a family’s left a photograph
in a friend’s scrapbook
in a trunk in a cellar
in the thrown shadow.
Nothing else. No dandruff.
No acne. No evidence of being.
Gone off the waterfall of Time.
Nobody remembers they were here
halfway up the hill once.

Lone blue goose,
tandemless, no fore
and aft, plunges over,
cries high noon of search,
drags feathers,  drops
the quick flutter
of a shadow
on Earth's
curve.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Proverb

by Doug Draime

Five thousand years
of solid darkness,

can not hold its own
to one
shifting slither
of light.

Green Valley

by Taylor Graham

Dry Creek’s a bucking torrent after winter rains.
This afternoon, dregs of summer, willow boughs
smell brittle as old pulp fiction, and buckeye’s
a brown ghost of dead leaves. Only wild plum
stays true to the name of this place, dancing
green to any breeze that reaches up the valley.
Two young Herefords know only drought,
grasses that snap – matchsticks under-hoof.
Whoever named this valley must have come
in spring, wading knee-deep through fields
of vetch entangling native bunchgrass.
How dry the creek. Our way down-stream’s
a two-lane that stops for nothing but the first
red traffic light, eight miles down the road.

Anglo in Saxony

by Terrence Sykes

beech forests
poplar meadows
chestnut groves
dusty roads slice fallowed fields
birch embroidering streams
through fog & mist
amongst the stars
almond & apricot lanterns
paper mâché poppy   cosmos
cling upon & amongst
planets & moons
beyond

below
descent & ascent
confined by rail slats
lullabied & cradled
alone along
the Elbe
river valley
dirt to stone to asphalt
steel sparks smoke
window bound
on the overnight
Prague – Dresden train

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Hard Rain

by Maury Grimm

A hard rain. Łizhiní calls the girls together under the currant bush. For awhile there I feared hail, but it is blessed rain.

The coop run is about finished and there is still a door to make and hang, but that will be for another day. My hands hurt incredibly from pounding nails, pulling wire. A blister forming at the base of my finger and I managed to hit my finger with the hammer once, but it is not so bad.

The wind blows the rain into some windows so I shut them, think about what to make for an afternoon meal, what is easy. Some asparagus soup in the reefer, maybe a sandwich. There is plenty to make a salad as well.

The sheep are now in part of the pasture that has been untouched. It was a sight to watch them rush in, joyful at the bounty.

The work of men, and then the work of women. And then it goes on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oregon Coast

by Doug Draime

Tide pools
sand dollars
gull-dung  &
pippins dancing in the surf like
                bow-legged children

Henna

by Angelee Deodhar

For thirty one years, just before this particular fast she would get her palms painted with designs of flowers, peacocks, vines, intertwined with her husband’s name. Ten months after their wedding, she got up early, bathed, and after prayers for his long life partook of some fruit, milk and dried fruit.

All day she ate and drank nothing … in the evening she wore a green and gold silk sari, green glass bangles interspersed with gold ones, silver anklets, a bindi on her forehead, and with sindoor in the parting of her jet black hair, looked radiant. Heavy with child, the very first time she kept the fast she could not bend to touch his feet … he held her gently and fed her the first morsel of food and first sip of water … they then shared the food … and held each other late into the moonlit night.

Now two years later, her frail pale hands are devoid of any color except that in her veins…

the stark moon
no longer worshipped –
deep autumn chill

Raspberry Season

by Wayne Lee

My daughter arrives in time
for the raspberries, wings in
from the east just as blossoms drop
onto the loam and fruit plumps
blood red. For her, I leave all
the fruit on the canes.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Journal Entry

by Stefanie Bennett

It’s no illusion:
That Pavarotti
Finch
Whistles
             While
She works
Beside an ochre
And red
Backdrop

... One octave
At a time.

In the Organ Pipe Monument

by David Chorlton

At a place close to here
in a time far away
the ground erupted
and a future landscape
hung briefly in the air
before the pieces fell
for the Earth to receive.
In the calm that followed
rocks kept their shadows
inside them while
the light pressed down
and beads of water rose
through ocotillo stems
until a flame burst from the tip
of each one, which the wind
can never extinguish,
even when it blows
so hard it passes between
the tangled cholla branches
with their thousand thorns
and moves on across
the valley, bearing
not a single scratch.

An End and a Beginning

by William Cullen Jr

There will come no rains
to cool the steaming masses
but clouds of dust
farmland in the sky
will blow away
like hope in the wind
so hungry children
with grimy faces
will curse their parents
and have to dig down deep
and learn to begin again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Nocturne

by Taylor Graham

On this ridgetop, spires of pines
reach toward the heavens. Evening
darkens, the tip of each ponderosa
pointing to a star.
What I can see: Pinkish glare
of a neighbor’s security light; urban
sky-glow from a city 30 miles away.
Trespass of light.
It robs me of the Milky Way,
Polaris my guide, a heaven’s worth
of imaginings, and this night’s
shooting stars.

Lines

by Angelee Deodhar

shifting sun squares
on the blue ridge mountain
resin scented breeze

Flannel Shirt

by Wayne Lee

It’s the way the shirt hangs
just so in morning light
mist gray and forest green

it’s the light in the air
just so and the shirt
on the chair just right

Soft Flight of Evening Falcon

by Tom Sheehan

World-viewed incandescence; sun up
under his wings with last quick volley,
slipping through a hole in the sky, lilting
the soon-gray aura without a sound,
a fleeted falcon appears above us.

From Yesterday he comes, from Far
Mountains only Time lets go of. Under
wings steady as scissors a thermal
gathers, not sure the joy is ours,
or his. It flings him a David-stone,

racing the Time-catch at heart,
at our throats. There is so much
light falling down from him,
from wing capture, we fall
prostrate. To look in his eye

would bring back volcano, fire
in the sky, a view of the Earth
Earth has not seen yet. In apt
darkness chasing him, in the
mountains where gorge, lake

and river give up daylight
with deep regret, his shadow
hangs itself forever, an evening
falcon sliding mute as a mountain
climber at his work,

leaving in our path next hiker's
quick silence, stunned breath,
the look upward on a frozen
eye and a wingspan  caught
until midnight horizon
halves the moon.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Silence of Printed Thought

by Doug Draime

The
ash
of it
not
even a
tiny
smear
upon
the earth

metamorphosis 2

by Theresa A. Cancro

small tadpoles wriggle no knowledge
of the miscreant tattered footfalls
muddled on the bank dropped underneath,
in slick form, cropped without water.

bull frogs taunt at the end of the rock-strewn
ledge, recoil legs and bulging throats
that rumble; they destroy numb flies
of decked love with the tips of their tongues.

Chain Lightning

 by Stefanie Bennett

Hard facts sleep softly
If you let them: like
Grey shepherds
Conjured up
In ‘The Good Book’.

Such occurrences
The mind
               Keeps
To itself...
Its humming
Self –.

Afterwards

by David Chorlton

Daylight has slipped downslope
next to a cabin left behind

when everyone around it packed up
and took their picks and shovels

as they moved away without knowing
where to. Theirs was a short and noisy

time. Nights are silent without them. Except
for the black whispers when long-nosed bats

steer between the trees
with their wing bones shining.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thrice-Used Water

by Taylor Graham

Frogs fall out of the wet-mop hung to dry.
They’ve come from a neighbor’s pond,
its puzzle-bottom of baked hardpan.
No water anymore, the landscape’s brittle
as thirst. In a basin I collect our showers
to mop the kitchen floor, twice-used water
I’ll toss on the cedar tree outside my door.
I dunk my mop, its stiff strings loosening.
Out swim two tiny frogs from the oasis,
the only damp in this land, hung out to dry.

On the River Near the Fifth Bridge

by Tom Sheehan

This morning the sea
walks up the Saugus River
chanting on grey cubits of air
talking sail and spar talk,
the way trees worry themselves tired
and ache like old houses the wind
has a secret desire for.

Birds, blacker than some thoughts,
make mischievous noises here
all along the brush path
through rocks, as tides turn
the out in and the in out,
a clock at midnight's exchange,
where hands make the decision.

These birds, raucous
journeymen at nerves,
pirates at orgy's wars,
masters of chord limericks,
hosts of madcap mornings,
only allow the sea so far
on this inland run.
If this is a paradise, they clamor
their thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lines

by Ryan Warren

Wind, playing across
sun-rippled crystal water—
but still the foghorn.

Resurrection Creek

by Terrence Sykes

walking along the bank
of this creek
first days of spring
winter naked trees
unable to name
in their leaflessness
ash beech  birch
dogwood  maple mulberry
summer will rise &
names will be given to each
autumn pentecostal banner
soon my winter will come
silently lay me down
amongst these woods
place  an acorn in my hand
I shall rise a mighty oak

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gold Rush Park

by Taylor Graham

An acrid whiff from the mouth of the mine –
closed except on weekends; pay a toll
to enter. Quartz debris is scattered like gold-
dregs on a brushy hill where they evicted
the homeless, above old ruins of the pest-
house, its tuberculars buried in a swale.
Here’s another year of drought, dead leaves
swirling in a blizzard of August breeze.
Far overhead, a klondike-blue sky
of unattainable desire where a buzzard sails –
Nature’s custodian cleaning up the spoils.

Tears I Shed Yesterday Have Become Rain

Trees for Life, Dundreggan
by Helen Moore

in low boats of cloud harboured in the tree-ringed mountains,
in the Bracken, Ling, Bell Heather that cling to bare peaks,
in ancient Oak, Scots Pine, Aspen, Alder, Birch,
in purple Blaeberry juice staining our hands,
in a burn’s icy milk charging a gorge,
in gilded clarity of pools –
tears I shed

in boggy trickles,
red hairy Sundew, Butterwort leaves
spread like skins of small, green bananas,
in Meadowsweet, in Orchid, in dusky yellow stars
of St John’s Wort, in a Birch stump with Polypore hard
as granite hooves, in the Dragonfly perched by the loch,
in people replanting the Caledonian Forest – tears I’ve shed

in Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Crested Tit, in spewed guts of a Toad
crushed on the road, in the tourists pedalling up the glen,
in Water Avens’ claret petals, in the Moriston’s
broad expanse, in snouts of Wild Boar
rootling on its banks, in Hare-
bell, in Eye-bright –
tears I shed

in Foxgloves
nodding by the wall, in fairy
horns of Lichen, pale as snuff, in the dawn
mists encircling the yurt on the day
of my departure – the tears
of the Great Heart
pulsing in all

From an Appalachian Peak, a Small Red Star for Me and My Father

 by Tom Sheehan

This appointment came when light tired, this arrangement, this syzygy of him and me and the still threat of a small red star standing some time away at my back, deeper than a grain of memory. I am a quarter mile from him, hard upward on this rugged rock he could look up to if only his eyes would agree once more, and it’s a trillion years behind my head or a parsec I can’t begin to imagine, they tell me even dead perhaps, that star. Can this be a true syzygy if one is dead, if one is leaning to leave this line of sight regardless of age or love or density or how the last piece of light might be reflected, or refused, if one leaves this imposition? The windows of his room defer no light to this night, for it is always night there, blood and chemicals at warfare, nerve gone, the main one providing mirror and lethal lens, back of the eyeball no different than out front, but I climb this rock to line up with another rock and him in the deep seizure of that stolen room, bare sepulcher, that grotto of mind.

Today I bathed him, the chest like an old model car, boned but collapsible, forgotten in a lowlands back room, a shelf, a deep closet, waiting to be crushed at the final blow, skin of the organ but a veneer of fatigue, the arms pried as from a child’s drawing, the one less formidable leg, the small testes hanging their forgotten-glove residuum which had begun this syzygy, the face closing down on bone as if a promise had been made toward an immaculately thin retrieval, and, at the other imaginable end of him, the one foot bloody from his curse, soured yet holier in mimicry of the near-Christ (from Golgotha brought down and put to bed, after god and my father there are no divinities), toenails coming on a darkness no sky owned, foot bottom at its own blood bath, at war, at the final and resolute war with no winner.

Oh, Christ, he’s had such wars, outer and inner, that even my hand in warmth must overcome, and he gums his gums and shakes his head and says, sideways, mouth screwed into his outlandish grin, as much a lie as any look, as devious, cold-fact true, “I used to do this for you,” the dark eyes hungry to remember, to bring back one moment of all those times to this time; and I cannot feel his hand linger on me, not its calluses gone the way of flesh or its nails thicker now than they ever were meant to be, or skin flaking in the silence of its dust-borne battle, though we are both younger than the star that’s behind us and dead perhaps, as said; then, in a moment, and only for a moment, as if all is ciphered for me and cut away, I know the failure of that small red star, its distillation and spend still undone, its yawn red as yet and here with us on the endless line only bent by my imagination, the dead and dying taking up both ends of me, neither one a shadow yet but all shadows in one, perhaps a sort of harmless violence sighting here across an endless known.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Icarus Unbound

by Terrence Sykes

collaged
forboden  forbidden forsaken forgotten
strewn stuttered syllables
litter upon
the Seine
alchemical
labyrinths
Paris
bound
train

Mysterious shrines

by Tammy T. Stone

Mysterious shrines
In forest
Gods making
Their own light
We spend our lives
Trying to discover

Lines

by Ryan Warren

Yellow sourgrass
nodding on the windblown bluff
a thousand yeses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

then again the fish

by KT Lowe

The tidal wave is coming
but then again the fish
always swallows the worm
on the waiting hook
only to become dinner
that evening.

Preparing for a road trip

by Tim Duffy

The sky is the same
but the powerlines
fade into the sky
and become mountains
trees or the hollow
gap between worn down homes.
Park anywhere, close your eyes,
dream of the grass that will one day
hold on to you forever.

Back to Nature

by KC Bosch

I love your view,
the animals too.
Sun rise, sunset,
midday shadows.
Leaf changing,
food chasing,
nest building.
Seemingly benign
out of the blue,
or should I say
lightening filled black.
You send a Deracho
ripping down trees,
tearing up walls.
Cute little Spanish
right hook,
a punch to the gut.
Knocking down wires
forcing us closer to you,
no water in the tap
we bathe in your pond,
electric lights out.
We gaze at your stars.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Long Heat

by Joanna M. Weston

the sun has shone for weeks
leaving grass gasping
on broken stalks
        birds tumble the sky
        wings burnt with longing
        for deep rivers
trees claw faint clouds
striving to break
those closed doors
        people refuse to touch
        fearing to share sweat
        for another’s thirst

Loons and Cranes

by Catfish McDaris

Rainbow cutthroat trout leaping
for the gnat hatch, fat frogs burping,
loons and cranes on stilts hunting.

Sleep's ragged breath

by M.J.Iuppa

Sleep’s ragged breath ransacks our chilly room.
Full moon snagged in the sycamore’s branches.
Red star pulses on the radio tower.

Ceno

by David Subacchi

Rising on the opposite side of Monte Penna
To Taro, your more powerful partner
You join its stronger flow later
On the left bank of Fornovo
In Italy’s Emilia Romagna
From there only a tributary
Your entire length is confined
Within the province of Parma

In temperament like my people
Lazy in summer, fierce in winter
Always struggling for attention
To demonstrate your worth
Against the competition.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Damascus Road
Anthus Trivialis: the tree pipit

by Peter Branson

This Saturday, sun blessed, May blossoming,
via crumbled watermill, you’re on retreat,
bird you can’t place, its habit strange. It springs
from crown of hawthorn sapling, calls to mind
the meadow lark, wings whirring, launch from sward
to rise, sing, spiral, land, then soar afresh.
Thought-flicking where you’ve garnered, fix the page,
your used “Observers’ Book”, portrait an’ text.
This is no screaming popin-jay, all post-
war ration shades of grey. Each tumbling gyre,
no sacrilege to undermine, time stalls,
so when you stumble on those marbled gems,
miraculous, the gods onside for once,
though tempted, falling angel, you decline.

Westerly, a Prose Poem

by Tom Sheehan

It is brittle now, the remembering, how we drove you east with your backpack like a totem in the rear seat, so that you could walk westerly across the continent’s spine, across the sum of all the provinces, through places you had been before, and we had been, and the Cree and the Owlcreek bear and wolves envisioned when night screams upwind the way stars loose their valid phantoms.

Now it seems the ready truth that juxtaposition is just a matter of indifference, because we have all been where we are going, into selves, shadows, odd shining, all those places the mind occupies, or the heart, or a lung at exercise. You had already passed places you would come into when we knew your hailing us down, thumb a pennant, face a roadside flag halting our pell-mell island rush.

To go westerly, to walk across the world’s arching top, you said you had to go east, to know Atlantic salt, kelp girding rocks at anchor, clams sucking the earth down, to be at ritual with Europe’s ocean itself, that mindless sea of lonely buoy bells arguing their whereabouts in the miseries of fog, singular as canyon coyote.

We promised you holy water at Tormentine, reaching place of The Maritimes, a fist ready for Two-Boat Irish Islanders, Cavendish’s soft sand, holy trough of journey, wetting place, publican’s house of the first order, drinks hale and dark and well met and Atlantic ripe as if everything the bog’s known the drink has.

It’s more apparent now, after you moved outbound, or inward on the continent, trailing yourself, dreams, through wild Nations once ringing one another, your journey’s endless. Nine years at it, horizons loose on eternity, trails blind-ending in a destiny of canyons too deep to be heard, and your mail comes scattered like echoes, horseshoes clanging against stakes in twilight campgrounds, not often enough or soon enough or long enough, only soft where your hand touches hide, hair, heart caught out on the trail, wire-snipped, hungry, heavy on the skewers you rack out of young spruce.
Out of jail, divinity school, bayonet battalion, icehouse but only in winters, asking Atlantic blessing for your march into darkness, light, we freed you into flight. You have passed yourself as we have, heading out to go back, up to go down, away from home just to get home. Are you this way even now, windward, wayward, free as the falcon on the mystery of a thermal, passing through yourself?
You go where the elk has been, noble Blackfoot of the Canadas, beaver endless in palatial gnawing, all that has gone before your great assault, coincident, harmonic, knowing that matter does not lose out, cannot be destroyed, but lingers for your touching in one form or another, at cave mouth, closet canyon, perhaps now only falling as sound beneath stars you count as friends and confidants. Why is your mail ferocious years apart in arrival? You manage hotels, prepare salads, set great roasts for their timing, publish a book on mushrooms just to fill your pack anew and walk on again, alone, over Canada’s high backbone, to the islands’ ocean, the blue font you might never be blessed in. Nine years at it! Like Troy counting downward to itself: immense, imponderable, but there.

A year now since your last card, Plains-high, August, a new book started, but no topic said, one hand cast in spruce you cut with the other hand, your dog swallowed by a mountain, one night of loving as a missionary under the Pole Star and canvas by a forgotten road coming from nowhere.

We wonder, my friend, if you are still walking, if you breathe, if you touch the Pacific will Atlantic ritual be remembered as we remember it: high-salted air rich as sin, wind-driven like the final broom, gulls at havoc, at sea a ship threatening disappearance, above it all a buoy bell begging to be heard, and our eyes on the back of your head.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

At Reserva Caleta on the Osa Peninsula

by Karla Linn Merrifield

This Costa Rican garden far more
abundant than any mythical Eden,
bolder, redder, in deeper
golden yellow, a bluer blue,

a pair rustle upper limbs
in the flash and flame of feathers
of macaw copulation—in a blur
they mate in saturated living colors.

Winterlude on the River

by Cristina M. R. Norcross

The warm scent of fried dough,
decorated with cinnamon sugar
and squeezed lemon juice,
fills the air.

Frozen water artwork,
laced with lines of ice skate markings,
appears on the Ottawa River.

Winterlude comes to a close,
as intricate ice sculptures of eagles and bears
start to morph and melt.
The big collection and clearing begins –
forgotten, sticky squares of wax paper
and hot chocolate drips,
still clinging to paper cups.

Sacred Universe

by Maury Grimm

Sacred Universe. It must be the light of this near full moon that tricks my eyes into seeing every star, planet moving. Or maybe it is the eyes aging as they will, as they are.

The morning light floods slowly along the edge of the Sangres, red and orange like those mountains. Perhaps a reflection of the singular lenticular clouds that drift along the scree. And I, up at 3am and again in this past hour, waiting by the northeastern windows for a light to trail across this morning sky.

For me, this is really the beginning of the new season of years, upon tonight's full moon.

The prayer resounds fuller now into my 61st year, knowing all these evolutions--if I allow--bring me closer to myself.

And that is the prayer, to be. To be the whole and best, to work at my connections, my passion, my family and friends. Not behind the veneer one endures to sometimes 'grow up'. No, I want to grow out and in. Simultaneously out, in, around and continue to spiral to myself, to the Universe.

For in the light, before the cacophony of news, of day, of traveling, we are as old and as young in it. In one breath exhaled, inhaled.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hawk Rising

by Peter Branson

There’s me, that mould of feather, stalled beneath
its pall of rusting bracken, putrid mass.
They’ve got me wrong, those poets, my blood-glazed eye;
slim pickings, narrow margins, misery
one mischief ride away, the constant theme
of gorge, then fast till keen, no second chance.
The slightest injury, bland circumstance,
blunting my cutting edge, stirs loitering death.
You’ll fade to nothing by degrees, no snare
nor keeper’s neat dispatch – that still goes on –
nor poison, seamless crime these days. My world,
the sharp survive, Sod’s law, necessity,
hunter and prey. I’m here, soaring star high;
one blink, infinity, blinding blue sky.



Seeing

by M.J.Iuppa

Seeing
five stones nestle
on an open palm. I glimpse
a starling– black wings ready
to fly                                  

Sleeping Ducks

by Catfish McDaris

Dangerous peacocks in a raspberry
sky, green sleeping ducks by the
cattail forest and melodic stream.

Remedy

by Doug Draime

Cascades of chiseled light
above tornadoes of burning
civilizations

Yet innocence conquers the warring
in the black hearts of fools

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Desert Night

by Ed HIggins

Under the high desert sky
just below Wrightwood
backpacking the East Fork
of the San Gabriel River
and listening to the vast
stars over the Mojave desert
as we spoke of their
unfathomable height
that never could be reached
while we stood kissing
under a Joshua tree
flowering cream-white blossoms
against the dark star-full sky
the scent of youth in the desert air.

the Charente

by Lee Nash

it flows fast
or it barely moves
bursts its banks
dries up to nothing
but meandering

In an old hotel by the end of a river

by Mark James Andrews

she licked her finger tip
unable to turn a proper page
in a magazine laying in her lap
sitting on the radiator at the window
dry skin eyes squinting
glass grime sun smog hidden
whereabouts unknown
in an old hotel by the end of a river.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Saugus, Embassy of the Second Muse

by Tom Sheehan

He has come out of a dread silence and given himself a name; Saugus, he says. He bleats like a tethered goat to come out of that coming, to be away, dense spiral to the core of self, to the mountain call, bird arc across such slopes of pale imaginings. Saugus, he says: I am that part of you cries not for the love but intimacy of words, light touch of skin we dread and seek, owning up of self as if in another. I am that part of you named endless searcher, thirsty one, guzzler, sufferer, warred on, the starved and the wasted, that part of you you can’t turn over by yourself. I have the secrets you do not know you know. I am lodged in a far corner of mind, some fallow place at reins’ end, waiting to be routed out, turned up, to green a page again. Has it taken you so long to find me, or do you ignore me and try it on your own? You cannot avoid documented lightning, shock of metaphor, God on one knee, Saugus. I am not a stranger. I breathe with you, find shelter and warmth when you do, know the single star haunting the edge of your horizon, know best of all the magic when the sound is right, Oh, Thomas! when the sound is the music of one word  upon another, and it tears two parts of soul to four because nothing like it has been heard before, when the word dances on its consonants, slides on soft vowels, when the spine knows the word is known by every ganglia, thong and sinew of the body. The coring.

I am Saugus and you waste me away, cast me aside. I who carry all sounds of memory, cast me aside at breast-panning, when you lose the music down in some phantom crotch, when a sweet ass ties your brain in knots. Now, just now, Thomas, feel the core wind in. Feel the word rock in you. Find the word rock. Chip at it. Let the chisel fly, the sparks dance out globally, the word broken away from the granite source in you. Don’t you know me, Thomas? I am the gate tender. I am the one who lets you find the word rock. I am the key man. I let you into that vast field of yourself where the rock grows. I am Saugus, and I tend that field where the rock lies in the sacred cairn. We meet so infrequently. I keep myself here waiting on you, the gate eager to rise, the field waiting to know your tread, the rock waiting to be beat upon by the hammer of your desire. I am lonely when you wander. It is dark and fearful without you. And yet I can make you cry when I am lonely. You don’t believe me yet… I am Saugus who makes you cry.

You can’t tease me, please me, appease me. Just use me. I am servant of servants. I am Id’s Id’s Id, ego sans ego sans ego. I am to be used, exploited, submitted. And I guard that huge rock in you, tend it, know what filled it dense as hardpan that time in Boxford field and you hurt all over; dense as the frozen earth DeMatteo dug fox holes with C-3 and it finally blew off the back of his head and Colonel Mason said, “Shit!”; dense as Vinegar Hill or Indian Rock or that rock wall outside Schenectady and you stopped to change a tire at her waving and she slid down that wall at her back motioning to you her bodily gratitude. Dense is that word rock, full of all your lore and legend bricked with every movement you’ve ever known, all sights and sounds and music of the words; that special place where the thing rings in you, that place of core vibration.

Jesus, Thomas, take my hand again! Walk in the field with me. We belong together, you and I. Dispel me of doom. Let the music of words come, let them dance first in your eye, roll on your tongue, live to die on the page. Let them vibrate on your spine, get kissed of your skin, shoot out of here in flight of geese, and mournful sound of heading home when there is no home, steaming freight train whistle calling you from a circle of blue nights, self shout at the moon still shining on a hill East of Cleveland, South of Yang-du, East again a long stretch from the Chugach given you in a word picture, West of a cliff near Kerry and rain moved as a god laughing at the rootstock of your silence, Celtic mummery, God buried in stone. If you can’t come with me, Thomas, you are the loser, lonely, forsaken. I can take you back to all the hard places,  to the adjectives and verb ends; to the quadrangle in Japan in 1951 and the cool wind coming through Camp Drake and the voice of death talking in it and calling out all your comrades’ names and it didn’t talk your name and you still felt sad and knew you were the only ear. In three weeks they were gone, all gone, and their voices went into ground, and all their words, and they built on the word rock and now they still dance sadly… such words that make you cry with music still in them, and they come long and slowly out of another time funnel, like Billy Pigg cursing as he rolled over in your arms and Captain Kay saying, “I just want to go home to Memphis for a little while and tell Merle and Andy I love them. Just for an hour or so.”  .

Ah, Thomas, come home again.
  Come you home again,
    Lest dust grabs us with the wind,

makes of this pairing
  a double-down burial,
    leaves our Saugus by itself.

All names brought to fore,
   friends and comrades of the field,
     come along with us,

celebrate the birth
  of death, first part to let go,
    say they are gone, disappeared

the way departure
  happens when you're not looking
    for ways to get free.

for a last handshake,
  not having one at the start
    when it all began;

under wire and fire
  and a veteran of the wars
    teaching how to die,

one hand finger talk
  saying nothing and it all
    coming down to this.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Televised On ABC For Us All To Watch

by Doug Draime

No one wanted to watch the films, or listen to
the sounds of torture  ...  at the dinner table
everyone held America flags,
made in China to ripple in freeway wind,
on Japanese cars.

In the nation’s capital they were eating food: $5000
a plate. The guests were politicians, generals, bankers,
brokers, CEO’s of corrupt and sinister corporations, IRS mucky mucks,
movie stars, assassins, informers, FBI, CIA, murderers and assorted
thieves ... the cream of America’s disease.

My Friend Jacques

by Emily Ramser

My childhood best friend was a pear tree
with a bent branch
named Jacques.
He hated when people ate his pears,
so he never grew any,
except once
for me.

14

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

faces frozen
into Thai demon monkey head masks
that feast on
compulsive illusions
and enchanted bitterness

two homeless dogs
ceremoniously copulate
in the middle
of a busy city street
like a perfectly matched pair
of fatal flaws
who permanently vanquish
one another

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rationings

by Stefanie Bennett

You stride the flat of my hand
Egg of the world.
Painfully shy, you stretch out
Your two new legs
Always on sunset.

To tell the rest of it, how
You grow sky-high
And crow at length
Would take
The lifetime of listening.

Egg of the world, even this
They’ll say
Is a lie...

Sotol

by Catfish McDaris

Searching for silver spoon to
make sotol and datura for sun
tea and going on a magic trip.

Quiet

by M.J.Iuppa

Quiet—
sitting alone
on a bench, watching leaves
spiral in gusts of flashing gold-
finches

Thursday, July 30, 2015

12

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

a devoted gathering of cosmic pig parts
lounges
in the open rear cargo enclosure
of a farmer's dented pick-up truck

street side parked
for cheap sale
machete shaved smooth
angelic ribs
the tenderest of loins
along with other assorted cuts
eerily confess
no compassion for self
defiles

Stations

by David Chorlton

There’s a flower in the desert
where a man lay down and died, a cactus
blooming at the spot
he put his backpack down,
and a trail of yellow blossoms leading
to the tree beneath which
he sought shade near the end.
                                                 And they bloom,
the penstemon, ocotillo, and mesquite,
again and again, with each returning year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

No Photosynthesis Occurs

by Patricia Williams

I remember eating white asparagus
at a sidewalk café
in the shadow of Cologne Cathedral      
on an amiable day in June.

This seasonal ivory treat,
topped with sun-colored hollandaise sauce,
tastes best in the company of friends,
with glasses of pale German wine.

Recipe:
To cultivate white asparagus,
bury the shoots in dirt as they grow,
allow no exposure to sunlight.
Use this same process to produce
sterile, non-permeable minds. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Riparian July: The San Pedro

by David Chorlton

A last river flows
where cottonwoods glow
against the storm side of the sky
as light behind the mountain
turns to rain.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

LInes

by Theresa A. Cancro

broken bottle
at the end of the path
blue-eyed grass

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Two Cents

by Maury Grimm

A steady rain throughout the night and now a thick fog lies across the field, making fence posts a haze and the cottonwoods not even visible.

I scan the news feed and would rather listen to Łizhiní crowing in the gray than the radio. Not much seems to change and it seems too much sometimes, the constant hate of war-drum beaters, people afraid of each other because of race, sex or religion, the greedy decimation of our home. I am saddened as I approach 61 that we could not learn to live together on this lonely planet and care for her better.

I have no religion but this place, the places I wander, my family and meager friends. The heaviness I feel, is it just the fog? Another day of small, but meaningful accomplishments? One hopes they be meaningful, are the right way and not another mistake to undo, redo, overcome.

Chart out the tasks for the day: Fix the chicken coop door so the magpies do not get in to steal eggs, measure fence lines, gather materials for building a new coop for winter, check the currant bushes and harvest quelites, radishes, cilantro. And maybe there will be time for a mountain foray before meeting with the Forest Service to discuss the fauna, the endangered plants.

I will put my two cents in where I can and pray what I leave reflects who I was and am.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nocturne Incomplis

by Karla Linn Merrifield
         
Frogs stop rain starts
as wind stirs midnight
with hiss drip rattle creak
full-moon gutter-gushing
puddle-making vernal storm
delivers cool June
on a Canadian front
lately of Toronto.

Wind moves waves
toward the end that is not.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Signals from a Dark River

by Tom Sheehan

Dangers are everywhere about my river: its own porous bog whose underworld has softened for centuries, the jungles of cat-o-nine tails leap up into. Once, six new houses ago, one new street along the banking, two boys went to sea riding a block of ice. They are sailing yet, their last flag a jacket shook out in dusk still hiding in Decembers every year. One old man at river's mouth grows rows on rows of strawberry plants in his front yard. These plants run rampant part of the year. He planted them the year his sons caught their last lobster on the last day of their last storm. Summers, now, strawberries and salt mix on the high air. A truck driver, dumping snow another December, backed out too far and went too deep. His son stutters when the snow falls. Worn wife hung a wreath at the town garage. At the all-night diner a waitress remembers how many ways she put dark liquid into his coffee. When she hears a Mack or a Reo or a huge, chromed but cumbersome International big as those old Walters Snow-Plows used to be, she tastes the hard sense of late whiskeys. He had an honest hunger and the most honest thirst, and thickest eyebrows, she remembers, thick, thick eyebrows. Once I drove a purring Saab 580 miles to my brother's home in Conneaut, Ohio in 8 hours of summer darkness:

six-pack hanging cold
         on his pre-dawn's split rail fence
                  he never drank beer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rain

by M.J.Iuppa

Slow, at first, then over-
flowing, a flood that no one
warned us was coming from
a distance, so far away.                                      

Two Plum Trees

by Sandy Benitez

Two purple-leafed plum trees
stand as sentries on opposite ends
of the earth-hued house.
Hummingbirds flit in and out
while crows fly loudly overhead.
There is a drought in this land
but not here, maybe next door
where the neighbors removed turf
and replaced it with beige gravel.
Or down the road where succulents
line the garden shelves.
The plum trees are always aubergine,
blooming and birthing fruit,
shading the wildlife who come
searching for sustenance and shelter.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

For the record

by Stefanie Bennett

We’ll understand
That enough
Is enough
When the stars
Climb down
From the Labarum’s
Chemistry
Of change

... Leaving
It bare
          Like
A hole in
The heart
Of darkness.

I asked a cow if she wanted depression meds

by Emily Ramser

and she just shook her head,
saying she was a virgin
in sex and medicine
and that her body was a temple
for the carnivores
who'd suckled her on plastic udders
in place of the mother who'd abandoned her.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Upon My River, Upon My Soul

by Tom Sheehan

What of all the spills that ache here --- upland dosage where the delta’s done and settling its own routines, the near immeasurable transfer of land and other properties of the continent chasing down Atlantic ways, shifting nations and cities from directly underfoot, moving towns along the watershed, oozing territories.

Oh, how I loved the river feeding the ocean.

I have plumbed the Saugus River at its mouth, found the small artifacts of its leaning seaward, tiny bits of history and geography getting muddied up against the Atlantic drift, suffering at tide’s stroke, roiling and eddying to claim selves, marveling at a century’s line of movement, its casual change of character, its causal stress and slight fracturing under ocean’s dual drives, the endless pulsing tide and the overhead draft of clouds bringing their inland torment and trial, land and loam and leaf running away with the swift sprinters of water, the headlong rush of heading home like salmon bursting upstream for the one place they can remember in the chemistry of life, impulses stronger than electricity, smells calling in the water more exotic than Chinese perfume.

The flounder, sheaving under the bridge at the marsh road, pages of an un-sprung book, one-eyed it always seems, hungering for my helpless and hooked worms, sort over parts of Saugus in this great give-away, and nose into the extraneous parts that were my town, my town.

“Listen,” my father said to me, his eyes dark, oh black during a whole generation, “for a sound whose syllable you can’t count up or down, for what you might think is a clam being shucked, a quahog’s last quiet piss on sand, a kelp bubble exploding its one green-stressed overture.”

He talked like that when he knew I was listening, even at ten years of age.

He wasn’t saying, “Listen for me,” just, “Listen for the voices, the statements along Atlantic ritual, every driven shore, rocks sea-swabbed, iodine fists of air potent as a heavyweight’s, tides tossing off their turnpike hum, black-edged brackish ponds holding on for dear life, holding a new sun sultry as anchovies … all of them have words for you.”

I hear that oath of his, the Earth-connected vow all the sea bears, the echoes booming like whale sounds, their deep musical communication, now saying one of his memorials, “Sixty-years and more, I feel you touch Normandy’s sand, measuring the grains of your hope, each grain a stone; and I know the visions last carved in June’s damp air.” 

“Oh,” he’d add, “you sons, forgotten masters of our fate.”

Deepest of all, hearing what I didn’t hear at ten, but hear ever since, the hull-hammered rattling before rescue from the USS Squalus, 60 fathoms down off Portsmouth, the sound and the petition count never fading; three quarters of a century of desperation and plea hammering in my ears.

Say it straight out: “Some were saved and some were lost. That is a memorial.”

The eels squirm and fidget on Saugus farmlands, pitch-black bottom land gone south with rain and years, gutter leanings, great steel street drains emptying lawns and backyards and sidewalk driftage into the river below black clouds. The worn asphalt shingles on my roof yield twenty-five years of granules, and now and then tell that story inside the house.

A ninety-year old pear tree shudders under lightning and offers pieces of itself as sacrifice to the cause, dropping twigs, blasted bark other lightning has tossed into the soft footing, the grayed-out hair of old nests, my initials and hers and the scored heart time has scabbed up, dated, pruned, becoming illegible in the high fancy of new leaves and young shoots. There, too, went my father’s footprints in one April storm, washed away in late afternoon as he lay sleeping in that tree’s hammock; and grease off my brother’s hands from his Ford with nine lives hanging on a chain-fall; and across the street a neighbor’s ashes spread under grapevines and pear tree an August fire later took captive in dark smoke I still smell on heavy summer evenings.

This is my word on all of this:

 It is where the river’s done, where a boy’s hung between the sunlit surface and a pinch of salt, who’s read of twisted souls at sea, knew sweet misery of warming sand, I know how water marks horizon’s dwelling where dark stream and ocean meet twice in the flow of bayside surge and ocean merge grasps the river’s downhill push, losing lush things like the very gravel I have trod, and the locks and board holding back my river horde.

Oh, believe … I have come up by image from the sea in other times, by overhand, by curragh, by slung-sailed ship of oak, afloat a near-sunken log; have crawled sandy edges of the bay, looked back at waters’ merge and flow, found the river’s crawl reversed where floating parts are nursed, toting redwing nests the winds abuse, good ground the rain in swift return hauls down the river … Saugus on the loose.

Ever now, when I fish at the mouth of the river, rod high, and hope too, I catch awful parts of Saugus. I know the stream and ocean meet where I dare dangle my awkward feet, where love-lies-bleeding and the primrose meet, where tempting sea and bay greet all of rhyme and so its clime:


The rainbow catches up the horde;
         Sea color's set by the Lord.
                  This you can believe;
   It’s Saugus I cannot leave,
         I race the river to the sea,                                                                                              
                    always it’s ahead of me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Is It Ever Spring Anymore?

by Doug Draime

Outside the robins return
Pecking the thawing backyard earth
Like benevolent and silent jack hammers
They are relentless, only pausing cautiously
For sounds of human beings: banging  crushing
Yelling  spewing the arrogance of
Self consumption into the cool polluted air

California Visit

By William Cullen Jr

The only rain that fell
was a sun shower
as if the drought
just couldn’t let go
even for a little while
as your award winning
jalapeno peppers
succumbed to the heat
you took it out
on the scarecrow
knocking him down
with one punch.

Visions of the Old Ones

by Kevin Heaton

Tears of brother eagle fall to mother waters.
No longer does he rise above clouds borne
on pristine thermals. Herds, too vast to number,
lie gasping beneath an incoherent sun, their lifeblood
flowing to tainted streams on a journey to troubled
seas. Creatures in the depths retch the bitterness.
Thorndrops vex through weary eyes, and salt
the wounded furrows of a people still cloaked
in the earth, forgotten; more trails for their tears.
They mourn the ravaged child born in hope,
abandoned. A land of plenty; rendered into blood.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bird in the Tree

by Taylor Graham

An owl in the grain of a stump –
what had been a great oak in sparse
woods – image of a bird etched
by years of rain and drought, lightning
strike and natural healing.
In woodgrain, the idea of bird. Owl
watching with sharp-taloned eye.

Lines

by Joyce Lorenson

where the river widens
over the sand bar
fingerlings in sunlight

God’s Gift

by Daniel Barbare

In
return

he
gives
me
his
bluebird
on
the
roof

with
a
cheerful
song

and
the
violet
plumage
of
another
dawn.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Calm Before

by David Chorlton

A raven’s wing peels away from the sky
above an empty road
that does not deviate
from its course beneath the clouds
until the first bend
where an oak tree twists into a breaking storm
and the coyote
who precedes lightning
crosses over
and stops time in the mesquite.

Ellipsis

by Wayne Lee

black angus
meat on the hoof
identical dots disappearing
over the horizon...
pronghorn nowhere
to be seen

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When The Sun Rises

by Doug Draime

I want to hear
the bird’s song, that’s all. The
meadowlark in the dense dark oaks,
or the whippoorwill crooning
to and fro in the sun
of the sycamores. I grow so damn
weary of the human sound,
flashing on with its artificial light
and the rat-tat-tat sound
of the collective Ego,
spinning on its
perpetually bloodied,
nowhere wheels. I want to hear
the blue jay high up
in the maple tree, squawking
a shrill celebration. A thrush singing
to me from the birch tree.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

LInes

by Perry Lee Powell

What we kill
In our
                   Treading on the garter snake    
Back yard
What we don't

Overview

by Stefanie Bennett  

Watching the storm cloud
Roll up its sleeves
Above the serialized
Splash
Of an ever
Changing
Cosmos

The Thunderbird
Dives
For cover.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lines

by Tammy T. Stone

The river carrying
Sounds of self, inviting
Witness.

Lines

by JS Absher

slower and slower
crossing a plowed field
after rain

Lines

by Ed Higgins

frog song
heron pond-stalking
listening

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do not microwave

by Emily Ramser

I didn't read the warning,
in fact, I forgot it was there,
and I microwaved my head.

My brain exploded.
It's still dripping out my nose
and ear canals
three years later.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lines

by Theresa A. Cancro

small silence --
a night heron ensnared
in fishing wire

Last Supper

by Gary Beck

The migratory chickadee
tries to eat at the feeder,
but territorial sparrows,
tough town birds,
have no sympathy
for the traveling nomad
and drive him away,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Scalopinae scalopus

by Barbara Brooks

Don’t know what killed the mole;
on close inspection I saw no damage
from talons of barred owl or punctures
from cat attack.

But there it was, looking like a stone
with feet;  small, pink with nails.
Pointed nose, short naked tail, no eyes or ears,
just a rock with paddles.

Didn’t want to touch it,
no matter that I pick up dead birds.
Scooped it up on the shovel
and tossed the body into the woods.

Something will eat it.

Journeying Through

by Seth Jani

I am simply amazed by the light
Dissolving in the purple vat of evening.
The heavenly entourage of leaves
And starshine, small pools of water
Gleaming in the spaces of the wood,
So dreamily prepared and assembled.
This deep in the forest a single dab
Of honey can light your life on fire.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Last Frontier

by Sage Borja

Swimming underwater seems closest
To dancing in the Milky Way
Knowing nothing but the amount of air
I have left in my suit
Staring into unknown charters
Not a single sound
But my breath
No longer am I fearful
I am up here
The blue planet is down there.