Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Grackles

by Linda Gamble

a multitude dots bare branches
their grating calls
like a thousand rusty hinges

black banner unfurls
takes flight
crosses the street
descends    shrouds
the ground two houses down

with a great beating of wings
they rise
dip    turn    land
once
and twice again
in synchronized formation

with military precision
they manuever down the road
blue jay jeers from high above

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Choreographed Buzzards

by Wesley D. Sims

Aerial acrobatic show—
wake of turkey buzzards surf
the blue ocean of wind,
black bodies glistening, their silver
wing tips splashed by sunshine.
Like practiced dancers transitioning
through routines, they cycle up the cove,
shifting, changing patterns, congregated
first in a circle, followed by momentary
square, then a trapezoid, now a Dipper
constellation, followed by a dotted spline
that torques and bends into a question
mark, as if to ask—what is this?

Training run for young buzzards?
Some vulture-peculiar ritual
practiced in mating season?
A random drifting, sniffing,
sailing excursion over the lake?
Maybe it’s just a Sunday afternoon
surfing flight, admiring the sites
and gawking at humans.

Dragonfly Days

David Chorlton

There’s a thin skin of air
lying over the pond
where dragonflies float
in September.
                       A Common Green Darner,
light as a wish,
with one wing for minutes
and one for the hours,
marks time as it crosses the water.
Summer goes slowly
                                    down to the carp;
a year drifts away
to the mountain. The heat’s lost
its edge, shadows
have teeth, while
                              two hawks in place
for the cool time of year
are quotation marks
for a silence as wide
as the sky,
                  and a vulture
hangs on a thread
down from the lingering sun.

Blackberries and Thistle

by Lorraine Carey

Random splodges of blackberries
stain the village and it's winding
pavements. The splatters
from starlings scatter wide -
the fuzzy circles, like signs.
Full bellies heavy in flight,
with pickings
from heaving brambles.

Roadside thistle of palest lavender,
forsakes its thorny bristle,
as furred heads of softest mink
hang on, until the wind shakes
and whistles through.
Autumn sneaks in, mulches leaves
and strips flower beds
with the efficacy of a thin lipped wife
and her Friday laundry.

They fly low, the murmuration,
with their mutterings
in warbles and whistles
chattering rattles and sharp trills.
Mimics and whirrs fill up
the evening sky and clouds roll
in a gambolled elegance of tumbleweed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Opposite of Town

by Todd Mercer

As
far
from one
interstate
as you get before
drawing closer to another,
forty-eight mile stretch with one gas station. Hills have eyes
situation, where city folks flee
before sundown, scared.
Near-empty
country,
too
still.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Every Day is a Good Day
(after the calligraphy of Keido Fukushima)

by Neil Ellman

Every day is a good day
to breathe the ocean’s air
and walk along the shore
dodging waves
like sanderlings
and listening to the rush of surf
speak of the eternal
ebb and flow
that lift the heart
as hour-glass sands
sink beneath our feet.

Arizona Dust

by M.S. Camacho

I live with the dust.
The furniture has a fine coating.
My husband’s boots.
My face and chest.
Sunspots and fine hairs
on my cheeks glow.

Coming down from the buttes
on to the hummingbird’s wings.
To the bat’s dinner song, and
between the saguaro’s crevices.

What a blessing should it
rain while the sun looked on
And while the cicadas
Sang before nightfall.

Cleanse me with ozone,
creosote bushes, and full moons.
Then, anoint me again with the
Desert’s fine red powder.

Confidence Question

by John Zedolik

A hundred yards to the shore
to solid earth, deliverance
and driving off,

just a jump—come on—
bathtub deep, lemon-yellow
squeezy ducks at the bouncing bottom

if you happen to drop down
into those depths beyond the green-black
surface, but you’ll skim

this with your strong strokes on only
this greatest and most northerly lake

don’t worry about the mischief of strong current
at a constant forty degrees. The boat’s too slow,
and five p.m. is far in the future.

The plunge will take you now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The First Rule of Substrata:
You Don’t Talk About Substrata

by Todd Mercer

There’s The Underground,
which everyone’s familiar with,
your standard shadow networks,
grey-to-black markets.
I’m talking about the underground
that people in the regular one
have only heard rumor about.
Below the sewer tunnels,
barely above
the collective unconscious,
the hydrologic caverns,
steaming mantle,
boiling molten core.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Old Stone Wall

by Anne McMaster

So much is lost.
I walk the lane this silent autumn night
up towards the old farm.
A soft mist hangs low on empty, moss-edged fields
and the patient wildflower scent is strong.
Three small girls – three ghosts –
tumble behind me as I go:
racing past me up the summer lane to find their father at the hay -
chasing a small dog, yelping, laughing,
carrying a bottle of tea and a wrapped piece for the hungry man.
Walking behind the trailer on an autumn dusk
hair prickling with flecks of straw
mouths sweet and dark with blackberries
plucked warm from an August hedge.
Then huddled, silent and golden-eyed on a dark October night
watching bonfire sparks burst up to the stars -
their peach-soft skin blushed with heat
each goose-bumped with fear of the encroaching night.

The lands and farm are gone.
Sold on, re-worked, the houses razed.
Only the old stone wall – aged older than the girls – remains.
We climbed it then
a barrier rough and tall;
a challenge to our brief-lived years.
Now, tonight, I see it as a thing of timeless beauty:
of workmanship and pride.

The three small girls tumble over it
riotous and laughing
and are gone.

Eternity Turn

by Winston Derden

Consider the cleverness of the Cooper’s hawk
who glides disguised the upslope of the roof,
crests the ridge, and dives on pigeons
perched at the feeder hanging from the eave next door:

the crash and sway, the spilling of seeds,
the prey pinned against the box,
the futile flap of wings
as talons sink in, and the predator

rises above the roofline, bundle compacted,
elevating toward hungry chicks hidden away
in a nest new-found since the city sawed down
the elm that canopied the park, a disease in its heart.

Pestilence and predation invert the arc;
the cycle turns on the wings of a hawk.

Late September

by Ben Rasnic

Earth sheds
its worn, frayed coat
of Indian Summer,

cools in the silent
avalanche
of deep, sleeping leaves. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hush

by Kimberly Behre Kenna

The secret of dawn
Tucked in the cup of the moon
Dark brew, gold nectar

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Uruguayan Autumn

by Terrence Sykes

orchards so ancient
now copse
olives & quinces
gather along  the ridge
as it slopes toward the arroyo grande
bulrushes  & cattails
merge coverage confuse
water & terra firma

ombra of figs clustered about
our little yet warm cottage
autumn rains already filled
heady aromas in the empty
mushroom baskets commingling
with the fragrance of last night’s
boiled cabbage and boar
eggs & potatoes pile
upon the overflowing table

chest of drawers laden
with forage jams
cupboards hold jars
pickled okra & green beans
harvested from the reluctant garden
rutabagas & pumpkins await in the
darkened unheated stone room
with garlic from several moons ago

all these a bit of autumn light
stored away to ward off
darkness of winter
clouds block the sky
dawn will arrive
of its own will

Intimations
Waimea Falls, Oahu

by Amy Uyematsu

something about the hush
                            beyond trees
     an afternoon
           drunk with the scent
                                    of hibiscus
        white ginger & orange

silence is this river
                snaking through the old
     canyon walls
                   water rushing
           to answer             hidden
                           bed of stones

& one more offering
                           of clouds
     as wind paints sky     each
                  different stroke     born
            from a thousand
                         nascent breezes

Too Much With Us

by Anita Sullivan

I jump into the hinge of light leaning open
against the Japanese Maple's trunk,

August grass hay-colored and inert upon the yard,
with no agenda,
reflecting nothing.

(This is where laughter resides
its mansion of fireflies).

The setting sun a serpent's tongue across the dessicated grass,
feeling for reflections, strikes
horizontal against the sunflowers in the raised bed, most of them
facing the wrong direction
for their own good reason,

reminds me of yesterday

the photos
on the wall of the eye doctor's room
the black holes in the exact center
of the rayed orange circles – how the eye resembles
(when photographed thus) – a sunflower
how the pupil, dark with seed-threads
inadequately
contracts to avoid blindness, counts on us
to always turn away.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zion

by Arinda duPont

In March, the perfume of orange blossoms fills the air.
Humming birds fly beside hibiscus flowers sipping nectar.
Spring fades to summer in an instant.
There are no clouds
Just yellow grass, Palo Verde trees and orange sunsets.
In September, the scent of rye clippings and Jasmin blooms is carried by the wind
Up mountains and down valleys.
Geese fly overhead squabbling in a big V,
“Zion, Zion, where art thou?”
In the Arizona winter.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

western kingbirds
        remembering which tree
     catches the sun first

En Plein Air

by M.J. Iuppa

1.

Overcast and steamy, the gray sky
warps beneath brushstrokes, thick
then fine, illustrating the fitful flight
of a hawk chased by a sparrow beyond
the old sugar maple casting its shadow
over a field of ripe straw— beyond
the fallen barn’s pretext.

2.

Mums the word. Who said that?
Everything in the cemetery is dead.
Someone left a fistful of mums
pressed against a granite marker.

3.

Grass turns yellow by August. Not
dead, but asleep. Maybe practically
dead, since it doesn’t grow until
it rains. It hasn’t rained in weeks.

Why the wrens are silent before Winter

by Ergene Kim

the dying bit of bluegrass
in the shallow corners of
the darkened meadow, covered
with the shadow of snow,
must have forgotten. There are
no wrens in winter.

and so the lone wind
sings again among the willows.
Whoosh, whoosh, it says, and
the sound of midnight is not lost.
Dare to sing with me, says the Wren,
and she is gone, like all the rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Encounter on Effigy Hill

by Darrell Petska

Whomever you are,
leave this sacred mound
slumbering for millennia
among switchgrass and brome.

I am Turkey Mother,
spirit guardian of those
gone to the upper world
in the great migration of the dead.

Yes, run! And should you be spared
my pounding claws and lancing beak,
know I am pledged to my people
frantically calling me back.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Horse Sees Things Differently

by Karen Poppy

Among each of these twenty
Snowy mountains, grass moves
If you look down to see it.

I look, and I nibble
As much as I can.
They want me to look up.
A blackbird shadows our sky.

I do not need to see
The blackbird to know
Its shadow.

Man fears more than he knows.
I fear some things I know,
And it’s not the blackbird.

I fear rain and wind,
But never snow, nor shadow.
I fear snapping twigs
Until they remind me to eat.

I see a maple leaf
And grow hungry for it,
Blackbird be damned.

The blackbird knows better.
It moves to a cedar tree.

The wind moves and fear runs
Through my ears and I
Mistake nothing of my fear.

A man and a woman
And a blackbird.
The taut
Telephone wires of my reins.

The river is moving.
So let me graze.
The blackbird watches overhead.

Imbros Gorge

by Joanne Veiss-Zaken

Uneven seam darts through Cretan rock
a crooked old man through eons

where donkeys once tread
paths spiral and turn
small tremors barely discernable
vibrate through the island

cicadas chant
forte then piano
entertaining those foolish enough
to walk the twisted line

wild goats watch and wonder
why we do this.

Acid Rain

by Violet Mitchell

Electricity is the cream filling of our country—
even the fish see it as art. Genocide is a strong adjective,

but there are ghosts who linger under highways, dead with
half-tweeted comments. We make crop circles out of juice

boxes, conspiracies from viewfinder scratches. Our misplaced
strands of hair became the fuses for abundant plastic lighters.

Soon we will feast on chicken pot pie, but all the birds OD’d
on hormones and now we eat the extra platypuses that wash

ashore. You & I dig our toes in glowing sand, nets in hand,
scouting for dinner and anything normal.