Sunday, December 9, 2018

Claim

by J.D. Stofer

From a cool seat in the garden
my fig tree
laden under dappled sun
I admired
till a movement in the shadows
a rat
despite me wove its way
twitched along the smooth trunk
sure footed
careful as a farmer
seeking just the right fig for himself.
Now I knew
that sun warmed fruit I had enjoyed
this very afternoon
pure and sagging ripe
straight to my mouth                           
the juice down chin and neck
had been sniffed, trod on, handled,
maybe peed upon daily by this bold fellow
with similar tastes to my own.
We both like a nice juicy fig.
And it’s clearly not my tree.

Lines

by Roberta Beach Jacobson

she hid all her secrets
in a yogurt cup
- then she recycled it

Freeze

by John Grey

Wind enough to sweep the lake of snow,
down to bare ice, particles of light,
stunted trees tinted, rock-stubble beach,
grass, a beleaguered brown, where poking through the white.

Half moon, horned owl in repose,
pine's dead branch, oblique stillness,
field mouse running in his head,
so dark, a silhouette,
eyes beam though the hooded grace
of the invisible, no sound
but the bounce of his heart.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The last father, the last mother,

by  Joe Cottonwood

the last two boys and one little girl
toddle over sand to their old sedan
leaving me alone on this beach beyond sunset
—oops not alone. One seagull sits in swash
tickled by foam. Sits. Something wrong.

She wobbles to stand on one leg. Flops
beak-first into wet sand. Stuck.
She’d asphyxiate but in awkward struggle
frees her beak and hops one-legged,
washed by creeping edges of surf
which the ocean deals, and deals again.
Now she sits. Can she float? Can she fly?
Is she in pain? How did she lose one leg?

Could I capture? Take her home?
Google how to feed a seagull,
nurse her, hope she heals?
Do I want a seagull in my house
squawking at my dog, pooping on my bookshelves,
flapping in my kitchen?
Post-sunset is ironically pretty, a trout-blend of color.
A cold wind, salt smearing eyeglasses.
A rogue wave icy water to my ankles.
Where did she go? I’m surrounded
by carcasses of crabs, mounds of mussel shells,
saucer sand dollars. Surrounded by death
which the ocean deals, and deals again.
Where did she go?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A question from the refugee camps

by Amirah Al Wassif

I asked them
How the sun says hello to everyone?
Then, they laughed bitterly
Without being sorry
And told me "ask the gun"
Her red spark
Sharp like a dark
Permits entering the light for none

They asked me "what is the sun?"
When our expected meeting will be done?
Since their question
I did not ask again
Cause everything was very clear
Through the war stain

There, in the Somali lands you can find the answers
Upon the clouds , in the camps even on the children features
There, in the Somali lands all the details written with no ink
The only truth here required from you to think
About those people who do not have the fun
But you still ask about their sun ?

Among the refugee camps in Baidoa
I found a baby crawled
On the arm of his mama
Who seemed to me frowned
The baby opened his eyes widely
Looking for the next light
But his mama knows
No light comes with fight

In a crowd of the lost African bodies
He hold my hand tenderly
He was selling water to the ladies
were sitting on the docks
With their pots
Waiting for the day- early

In the Somali lands
They asked me
How the sun says hello to everyone?
Then, I replied with no hesitation
No sun comes with a gun

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Fossil Beach

by Joe Cottonwood

Take off your shoes, walk with me.
We’ll squish our toes. Miles it goes,
the busy beach brimming with tiny crabs
until we reach — here, this outcrop:
from salty pools you can pluck
dead souls reborn as rock, washed by tides
just as they bathed so long ago
smacking their clammy lips,
wafting a seaside scent
not unlike spilled beer.

We humans still seek contentment.
Here it has lain millions of years.

This fossil, bivalve,
from time before meadowlarks,
before Neanderthal, before waltz
in the shape of a harp roughhewn,
plays a melody murky, out of tune.
Wizened she is.
Surface ribs roll. Feel the deep chuckle.
How dense in your fingers,
how nicely she fits against your palm.
From the sand she shakes your hand!
Greetings from the Paleozoic tavern,
surfin’ oldies on the jukebox.

Some day, may you and I
jolly in our bones
return as stones.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

How Autumn Begins

by Don Thompson

Nothing close to a chill this morning,
but cool enough to remember
how the cold felt and to know
that it’s coming soon.

Leaves yellow on the edges,
dying from outside in;
green fruit that never got started,
and one last fig that must be ripe:

Soft, but the skin’s leathery.
It plucks easily, though,
and tastes as sweet as anything
summer had to offer.

Lines

by Ryan Warren

Not all berries drop
in their season. Even now,
still, we are laden.

Autumn Pastoral

Mary Anna Kruch

At the foothills of the Rockies, the road shadows the river.
Rock ledges of red and burnt sienna
form terraced altars for juniper and spruce;
harebell and wild flax bloom at their feet.
Past the ledges, the sky is overcast but visible,
even at 8500 feet. There, Quaking Aspen,
connected by one root system, spread their wings above ground,
finding patches between rocks to flourish.
A sharp turn marks a grove of cottonwood
clustered together, leaves fluttering, sharing secrets.
Trail Ridge Road climbs higher into the mist;
one expects saints to appear, point the way.
A sign for Fall River Road comes into view.
Ponderosa Pines fade into thick clouds;
headlights shoot through the fog.
Tail lights vanish ten feet ahead,
and the road snakes toward Chasm Falls.
Partly-obscured guard rails bend and kneel, lean
toward free-fall disaster, barely three feet to the left.
Poplars gone red emerge, flow, then meld into a baptism
of tangerine alder, juneberry, and spruce.
A dip in the road brings clarity to the clouds,
a veil lifts, log cabins appear, and plains open up to a herd of elk.
Aspens crown the golden pastoral scene.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Three Photographs
Christi Kochifos Caceres


Li River Mists

     
      Longsheng Rice Fields

Stairway - Longsheng Minority Village

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Lines

by Laughing Waters

Algerian fox
yapping under blood moon
golden dunes

Sunday, November 18, 2018

At the Edge of Sight
~ Old Quebec City

by M.J. Iuppa

Where sky meets water, blue
mountains rise— moving
across the horizon in shifting
clouds that curve into fortress
walls— mortar made to keep
this old French city contained
in its glass globe.

A ray of light catches fire
on the cathedral’s steeple.
A gray pigeon flies under eaves.
A man stomps his boots before
opening the heavy door
to morning prayers. . . .

And, your cupped hands
shake—unable to control this
universe—it snows, and snows,
and snows.

Wilder Ranch

by Jeff Burt

Struck by sunlight
the west wall of the cliff
like two cymbals
crashes unexpectedly,
stone ignites,
nests of shorebirds
open from darkness,
swallows cavort
squeaking celebrations,
pairs of blue dragonflies
hunt like closing scissors,
and yes, yes, the sun, the sun,
the clanging and banging,
and the whole cliff waking to vibration

Lines

by Laughing Waters

desert sun
between two dunes
the wind whistle

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Prairies

by Philip C.  Kolin

A prairie is flat,
honest

free and open

not hampered
by planting rituals

or fenced in
like a garden's roses.

A prairie celebrates the wind
frolicking with wild rye and clover;

its butterfly flowers follow  the sun
and its  buffalo grass roams at will;

prairie bluestem everywhere
mirrors the cloudless sky.

Imperious sparrows and larks
cannot control

what a prairie harvests
or seed it with weeds.

A prairie grows
from the inside

out. No prickly pines
or glossy holly can root here.

A prairie courts posies
with black eyes

and blue bonnets.
A prairie sings:

Let all the world be lupine.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Lines

by Laughing Waters

all birch leaves
pointing downstream
the school of fish

Untitled

by Aneliya Avtandilova

All wrinkled and creased,
Exposing the imprints
Of someone's gargantuan limbs -
The bed of Cascadia.

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

eleven mourning doves
                   milling about
             autumn 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Safari

by Julianne Basile

To discover how one
Can fit a safari
In an amusement park,
Board the truck.

The spirits left
A tweed elephant
On her seat
When she got up.

It was bejeweled and the color of dusk.

What is one thing she learned about the safari?

It's smaller than Africa.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

red-tailed hawk
     circling overhead--
the songbirds shut up

Egret

by Paul Waring

Embedded in silence—
a statue, study in patience
you stand, lost to time

watch and wait
s-neck still life
wings locked down
in wild Lanzarotean wind

for what seems hours
you paint brilliant white form
pure as truth
against black volcanic rock

forensic eye
sharpened telescopic stare
down yellow beak
poised to pounce beneath

ice-blue Atlantic sheet
killer spear inclined
to missile prey
with minimum fuss

and rise back to life
in rapid flap
of broadsheet sails.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Change Of Color

by Denny E. Marshall

River flows downstream
In a different color
Past lost forever

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Couplets

by Pepper Trail

Start with water or stone?  Stone.
No, water.  No, stone – stone.

So, a volcano – a lava flow?
Yes, then water.  Because otherwise – the moon.

Infiltrating every fault, eroding.  Yes,
freezing, thawing, cracking.  Habitat!

Now, lichens.  Eventually, a little soil.
Moss, succulents.  Flowers!

So, bees.  Lizards, mice finding shelter.
Then, snakes, owls.  Someday, forest.

It’s good, every kind of thing.
Every kind of thing – it’s good.

Landlocked

by Teuta Skenderi

It smells like my land,
like the soft soil in my mother’s garden
like a fistful of cold earth resting on my father’s chest.
It smells like seeds sprouting
and roses dripping dewdrops at dawn.

It smells like a hand-woven blanket
covering a stranger at night.

It smells like an untrodden forest and home-made wine,
like a coin rusting inside a wishing well.

It smells like wide open windows and doors,
a quince drying on the window sill waiting to be gifted.

It smells like a toothless kiss on a child’s forehead on his way to school.
It smells like a migrating bird’s feather free-falling.

It smells like my homeland in early autumn.