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.