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Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Wild Swans At Island Park

by Bruce Morton

It is in winter they are most
Striking, white as the snow 
Set against the black water
Which will not freeze over.

Everything is framed in frozen
Branches and twigs brittle,
Furry with hoar frost coat.
They warm themselves there

Drifting in the stream fed
By hot springs, steam rising.
They have settled in, staid,
Regal in their curve and preen.

It is no wonder that they stay.
Should they now take wing
Belly and breast become ice
Bringing them fast to ground.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cuckoo's song

by Ram Chandran

from morning
following me everywhere-
this cuckoo's song

a cuckoo's song
answering 
a distant cuckoo's song

banyan tree-
a cuckoo's song lengthens
through aerial roots

cuckoo's songs 
in sync with
monsoon rains

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Lines

by Joshua St. Claire

trash trucks
the clutter clatter
of capitalism

Lines

by Douglas J. Lanzo

pressed black tea
tannins of peat
stain sea bay

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

busy intersection-
sitting by the side of the road
LAZY BOY lounge chair

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Lines

by Chen-ou Liu

clean coal billboard ...
a fork-tongued thought 
darkens the night

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Excerpts from the Book of Suns

by Kevin Maus

1. There is no burn-out, only banquet.
2. Peace of mind is of horizon; waking and setting suns play upon this plain. We fulfill these
suns.
3. Banners of light filling the sea: God's army. Sentinels of light that burn in unfailing worship.
4. Look to it: the bared heart above is so much of the kingdom within.
5. There is an absence in beauty—this is calling home.
7. Omniscience is forgiveness.
8. Larger than any want so, larger than any despair.
9. To what do you genuflect? —92 million miles away is the altar to which I bow; which is but a
tabernacle to the true Host.
10. “Because it's there”, is the refrain in view of the mountain; so much better in view of a blade
of grass.
11. Let it roll, laughingly bright. Halos for holy fools.
12. It's alone like I am alone. In its remove it seems as though its face is turned, pondering
infinities—perhaps looking upon a sun of its own. But even with its face turned, its light is one
unbound.
13. There is sleep in it, dream even. “Return to the source.” It is all just a wayfaring of return.
14. A bird on its perch brighter than all thought; an iris in which are outdone all worlds. Where
else do we look? Why else do we look?
15. Even at the lowest hour, light lays about like an indisputable wealth.
20. The sun wrecks like a sacrifice upon the sea everyday: a marveling emptiness that makes me
long for home.
24. It's there, it hasn't aged—unfolded from the velvet lining of my travel bag (blue-black-green
gun-oil velvet). I draw the charm forth anytime, to warm myself with it.
25. It's there despite me. It burns eras away like a traveler gazing into his night's fire. It stops
every mouth. It stops every mouth of Human Being: Thank God—the Silence: its most utopian
potential.
28. Energy enough to power a body til the end of the earth; or enough for a soul to carry it into
the dark.
29. Vigilant: I watching it, it watching me; and it alone is escaped to tell thee.
30. It smiles upon me, eliciting my own: a smile alike to that which comes when watching a
child who is free at play. With an ease it comes, with a knowing ease it comes over us.
31. My friend, always waiting where I know to find; with nothing said, we accompany each
other in the thought: there is a light up ahead.
33. It burns there on my cell wall—and none can see that which I stare at all day, gratitude
bleeding across my face. I'm unable to help them understand.
34. A light which the darkness cannot see. An irreducible flint to strike alive at anytime—
marking the dark with dendritic, firework bursts; putting holes in the false-backed abyss.
35. I can't take it with me, for it is already up ahead waiting for me.
36. Honeysuckle amber, skyward fall. Tending the fire—a mere watcher.
37. “Out there,” only those wishing to get to it say that it is. I know that it is here, and worship as
such.
38. Bonfire of twilight. Dayend pyre to the genius of the sun. —It burns with the work of the
world.
39. In the shooting gallery of the eye: here I love to endlessly fire into its glorious void.
40. The temple steps are time.
41. An ache of loneliness yet in its glory: the loneliness being the end it contains.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Route, Root

by Morouje Sherif

Davids’ in Providence, smothered in maple leaves.
Soaking in the rusted moonlight, probably eating an In-N-Out double cheeseburger.
Volcanic rust, the cold is in colour, sheltered.
The cannonballs in place of your eyeballs, I’m sure—
God, I should drop my torch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Lines

by John Grey

December twilight
stand of naked chestnut oaks
erased by darkness

Lines

by Phil Huffy

the old orchard
few apples
many memories

Lines

by Chen-ou Liu

late night walk home ...
the distance between me
and a stray

Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Belt of Venus

by Marisa Frasca

The Belt of Venus generously lifts
above the horizon just before sunrise,
the sky awash
in pearlescent-pink luster
at the bottom of every war.

In the presence of Earth’s unbroken curve,
the great blue heron feeds in the marsh
and whistler swans build nest bowls
of aquatic grasses and sledges
among the industrial pipes 
leaking at sunset.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

there are men i hate with the whole dark country of my heart

by Dan Leach

there are men i hate with the whole dark country of my heart
men like wolves for whom kindness smells like blood
men with souls like the ice at the bottom of the world
watch their mouths and wait for something true
all that spills out is grey hatred and falsehoods
the lowness of fools made brave over time
they crush bodies for money
they crush bodies for free
if you are civil with these men
they twist civility into labyrinths
if you go to war with these men
they say thank you 
then grind your children into dust

i got so weary I had to ask the holy ghost
what are we to do with such men
he said there is nothing to do
except to suffer and to dream 
he said you must suffer them until you see 
the old earth rolled up like a scroll
then you must carry that vision inside you like a secret
i asked if maybe there was some other door 
an exit kept hidden all these years
but the holy ghost said no
he said beware they are devils, these men 
and if you think you can escape them
then you know nothing about their reach
this is their empire and they cover it like the wind

Sunday, January 1, 2023

I want to focus on light,

by Susan Vespoli

not grief, not the gut clench that startles, 
shows up first in the solar plexus, 
then spreads to the heart and lungs to stifle
breath.    No.    I want to focus on the soft 

underbelly of birds, how they are cupped-palm-
sized,    feathered,    backlit by morning light, 
how the wings stretch and soar like Blue Angel 
jets above my head       if I remember to look up.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Repairing Light

by David Chorlton
 
Next week the men will come
to mend the sky.
Early one morning they will pull up
in their trucks and climb
on ladders to begin
chipping away the clouds
and come back down to unload
the material for holding off
the rain. Here doesn’t feel like here
today with hours
of a misty curtain drawn
across the mountain. Soon there will be
feet on heaven’s light
and scraping to remove the darkness
that accumulates on days
like this. Expect a moment soon
to look straight up for a brief view
through eternity
and the passage into space begins
when mission control announces
it is time to follow hummingbirds
to their mystical beginnings.
It won’t be long
before each broken shingle
is replaced with a blue
so clear and startling the desert
glows beneath it.
For a few days there will be
footsteps above and the hammers
tapping down the nails
that hold earth and air together, that
when the sun goes down
turn into stars.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

LInes

by Douglas J. Lanzo

blood moon
illumined slice
of sandstone peak

Lines

by A. J. Anwar

country road
a rare cochoa lands gently
and disappears

Lines
by Lavana Kray



Sunday, December 25, 2022

Joy

by Carl Mayfield

the child 
lights up
when the tree does

Friday, December 23, 2022

Sonnet to Poseidon

 by Anne Gruner

How do we harm thee? Let me count the ways.
We choke you with our deadly greenhouse gases,
and change your water to deadly carbonic acid.
For shellfish and corals, it is the end of days,
as warming skies set seven seas ablaze. 
Into your great expanse we discharge masses 
of waste and plastics, killing all that passes 
and forming zones of algal death in bays.

Heads bowed, we pray you make us wise,
as no denial brings us absolution
for turning our backs as steaming seas still rise.
We seek your ecological affusion
to no longer ignore the ocean's cries,
as we sail close to the winds of aquatic extinction.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Documentary

 by J.R. Solonche
 
The CEO of Interface,
the world’s biggest maker of commercial carpet,
has had an epiphany. 
 
“A spear thrust into my chest,”
he says as he was reading E. O. Wilson
on the extinction of species, who called it, “the death of birth.”
 
And now what?
Now this:
pull out that spear which has done its work
 
in the chest of the CEO of Interface,
the world’s biggest maker of commercial carpet.
Then wipe it clean
 
and thrust that spear into the chest of the next CEO,
and then pull it out and wipe it clean
and thrust it into the chest
 
of the CEO after that,
and then wipe it clean and thrust it
into the chest of the next one and the next CEO after that.
 
Then keep thrusting that spear.
Keep thrusting and thrusting that epiphanal spear.
Name it “The Death of Birth.”

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Holy Road

by Bruce Morton

Through shadow and light, U.S. 191 wends
As we pilgrims steer through the canyon,
Driving against current as the Gallatin 
Flows down, recrossing, cross-stitching

Together this gorgeous cleft, tempting eyes
To cheat the road—the rush of cold water
By or over House Rock bids welcome
As it froths farewell, rock cliffs spire, aglow,

Blue, dark water conjures the Mediterranean
From Spanish Creek, flowing from nowhere
To Hyde Creek, peer up at the Storm Castle,
Baptist Camp anticipates Hellroaring Creek,

On up to Greek Creek, Big Sky, where the rich
Pour their excrement and disdain into the river
Where algae blooms, a perennial bouquet, then
320 Ranch tourist buckaroos roughing it in style.

Comes Black Butte. Then, there it is, Yellowstone.
Earth fumes and bison chew on the sight of us,
Pawing the earth, enduring yet in spite of us.
It is a holy road—lean shoulders, white crosses.

Ghosts Of Fog

by Ceri Marriott

Trees and fields wrapped in fog,
Floating ghosts of other worlds
Cross the road and stop and stare.

Drought-denuded silence speaks their ill,
Limbs stiff and seeming out of joint
Half glimpsed in looming shadows.

Spectres of the present and the past,
Of an ever more disastrous future,
Lost spirits in a human world.

And the fog hangs there.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Three Polaroids
Josse Desvouges

Berries of Soløyvatnet

Clouds moving in near Tromsø

Mound near Tromsø



 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Lines

by Deborah A. Bennett

first autumn frost -
the dark under the porch
still green

but black seeds
keep on growing -
autumn dusk

Autobiography

 by Timothy Resau
 
Do not move at midnight
without the voice of desire …
remain fastened — rusted—
a lock upon a wet chain,
waiting for the leaves to come bury me.

Trees Over People

by Anne Gruner
 
Green and leafy, a silver maple
leans over the side of the house.
It could fall on my bedroom
as I sleep. No matter—it would be
a fitting counterblow for all slain trees.
One day a sonic boom shakes the house.
I am fine, but the roof is not.
Silver's roots, too weak to hold onto life,
have given way. Its limbs invade  the attic—
shingles slashed, gutters smashed.

I study Silver's neighbors—a copse of three, older,
taller, white oaks—verdant, fulsome, upright,
on the front of the house, and closer.
Silver's fallen image sticks in my mind's eye.
The roofer presses for a decision.
They say trees communicate and support each other,
sharing nutrients, water, and even warning—
using an underground fungal internet.
The three oaks comprise hundreds of years of life.
Together for decades, they are a family.

My temples throb with the dirge of the chain saw
as it ravages their majestic beauty,
top to bottom, piece by piece,
leaves fluttering downward,
handsome hardwood flung aside,
too many rings to count.
Perfectly healthy.
I turn away, sickened.

At last hewn to the bottoms of their trunks,
the venerable oak clan reveals its dark secret:
hollow channels of death ascending each,
unknown to me, but for the silver maple.

Together now in the empyrean,
the four stand over me once again.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Gray Wolf

 by Royal Rhodes

"Every wolf's...howl/ Raises
 from Hell a human soul."
        -- William Blake

The herders grazing massive flocks around
the Yellowstone protest the wolf's return,
claiming it is now a killing ground.
Defenders of the elk and deer in turn
revile the wolf, as if machines of death,
with glowing, demon yellow eyes at night,
the hounds of hell, with blood upon their breath,
as if some evil power made them bite.
The wolf, from whom our dogs descend,
so docile and obedient, who lick
the stingy hand that feeds them, in the end
is fear of those we torture, beat, and kick.
The darker image we adore
and knit our noxious dreams with twisted lore.

Incubation

by Elizabeth Weir

Through a sunrise window,
a snapping turtle digs among
purple petunias, baggy-trousered back legs 
churning soft dirt, huge carapace 

flattening flowers, her need, urgent.
The cavity, deep enough, she drops in 
leathery eggs the size of ping-pong balls,
pedals her nest closed and leaves the sun

to do its work nursing the darkness 
summer-long in dirt’s warm womb. 
Then, one October day, a thought,
an inkling, an opening in the silence —

clawing upwards with penny-sized might,
something new and tender climbs into the light. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

daily dally

by Geoffrey Aitken 
 
news media tells me
of the heat
around the globe
 
intense
in world leaders
 
and our lawmakers
whose frustrations
in defense of justice
fumes
 
enough almost, to start fires

The Purging
~ the conflagration of nature

by Royal Rhodes
     
They burn at night
the hostage land,
the brushwood bunched
on the open prairie,
committing an act
of civic arson.
Dripping torches
swung in arcs
spewing liquid
make oily ribbons
ascend like rockets
into the starred sky.
They strip the cover
from the earth, matted
with winter debris.
The inferno's agents
in yellow jumpsuits
walk no-man's land 
with terrorist gestures..
Rabbits frantic
with singed skin
dart in confused
circles, and death
licks blood
in lambent flames.
When "the world is coal,"
just contrite ashes,
and your flesh incense,
I can see only
the thirsty fire,
and the burning hot house,
the burning, the burning.

Lines

by David Josephsohn

awoke to the smell
forests burning — that’s alright
gas prices are down

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Missing Wilderness

by Jamie Seibel 
 
Notice the untouched stone
along a twilight shore. 
 
How its winding path leads
to non-human tracks. 
 
We must recall the touch
of flesh on stamen. 
 
A glimpse of wild bloom
before the gardener returns. 

Hamlet's choice

by Ceri Marriott

To eat or not to eat,
That is the question. 

No, to heat or not to heat,
That is the question.

Or rather, to eat or to heat,
That is the real question.

Flown

by Darrell Petska

That venerable philharmonic
fading forever into darkness—

nightingale’s flute
thrush’s piccolo
quail’s oboe

So long their symphonies
have raised dawn’s curtain

lark’s violin
goose’s cello
cuckoo’s clarinet

their voices now migrating
to archival recordings

woodpecker’s drumming
crane’s trumpeting
crow’s bassooning

silent stand stork and pelican
remembering lost brethren:

passenger pigeon, dusky sparrow
carolina parakeet, heath hen
ivory-billed woodpecker, great auk…

silence swelling
for the somber swan’s finale

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Benefits of Higher Education

by Gerry Sloan

The waitress brings our beer.
It shimmies in the glasses
because one table leg
is shorter than the others.
The waitress makes repartee
to sweeten her tip. Jules reminds us
he has a PhD by informing us it is
French and repartay not reparteee.
Outside the dusk slowly subsides
to darkness. Meanwhile Stan confesses
the only thing useful he learned
in graduate school was to sprinkle
salt on the coaster so his beer glass
wouldn't stick.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Call Me Aster

by Rachel Loughlin

My daughter is reinventing herself
In quarantine
She's chosen a new name
New hair
Is sewing new clothes
From old curtains

I try to honor her wishes
There are so few things in her control
By choosing to name herself
She is taking her stand
Before the yawning chasm
Of uncertainty
And saying
I am here
I am me
Everything may shift
But I remain

Tonight I've promised to dye
Her new hair bright blue
And mine red
Also newly cut
I quietly think
About changing my own name
But I do not tell her that
We will shout together
At harvest moons rising
As women always have
Tell the stories
Say their names
drop by drop
So it isn't a flood that washes her away
She does not understand yet
The long line unbroken
Of women tending each other's wounds
That holds the universe in order

She just knew
Something in her
Needed a new name 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

This is a poem about a full moon

by Joe Cottonwood
 
called a Hunter’s Moon 
I never saw rising because 
I live in a valley covered in fog
among redwood trees.
 
Each night I soak in a hot tub before bed,
each night a different phase of moon
which must rise high scaling mountainside
and then pierce the fog
which keeps the trees alive.
 
The fog turns to silver shafts
hovering among trees
like beams from a celestial projector.
 
This is a poem about a nose 
touching my elbow at the edge of the hot tub,
a black wet nose,
a raccoon cub wide-eyed with life,
handsome fur thick and glossy,
curious, electric, spirit of night.
 
Startled delighted I exclaim There you are!
like an idiot and the cub, scared,
so quick on its feet scampers — gone.
 
This is a poem about the felt, 
sometimes seen, ever there: 
the fog and full moon, 
an elbow, cub nose, 
the damp touch 
of the wild cosmos.

Aging

 by Jamie Seibel
 
The shore is an old man 
of sand wrinkles 
and folds.
A paper crane,  
flies north 
as I pick up
the bone of a fish,
hoping to replace mine
and swim downstream. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Lines

by Maria DePaul

Overdue rain
Rivulets hit dust
Valley’s flash flood 

Lines

by Chen-ou Liu

horns and tire screeches 
another sunrise blackening
with wildfires 

Lines

by Nancy Scott McBride

false dawn -
early birds whisper in
the mock-orange bushes

Cacophony

by Kathryn Holeton
 
Loud crashes echo,
a tornado siren wails,
cellar doors slam shut.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Great Auk

by Simon Christiansen

The penguin but your shadow on the wall
Your egg lies crushed beneath a human boot
The world without your presence has grown small

Our actions in the past we can't recall
The world is changed for good by this pursuit
The penguin but your shadow on the wall

Atop the signs of progress, we stand tall
Towards Utopia we chart the route
The world without your presence has grown small

The trees, the stars, the beasts must be in thrall
From homes of chrome and steel we thus salute
The penguin but your shadow on the wall

From everywhere to anywhere we sprawl
The fruits of nature only our loot
The world without your presence has grown small

We do not see as we collect the haul
Our egg beneath a fast-approaching boot
The penguin but your shadow on the wall
The world without your presence has grown small

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Lines

by Mona Bedi

billowy clouds 
a red kite struggles
to stay afloat 

Lines

by Douglas J. Lanzo

breathlessly close
mountain peak stars
fingertips off summit

Lines

by Herb Tate
 
overshadowing 
bright moon 
shadows 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

We Didn’t Know

 by Alexandria Lacayo
 
The rake rakes amid the strain of the back
metal fingers searching aimlessly, exposing.
Splinters spawn secretly beneath as payback
from the spent earth for disturbing the process.
 
We didn't know the disaster we'd cause
and the disaster we caused didn't know
 
A rustling ramble stirs crimson and coral
atop neglected bronze blades, crippled by men. 
Busy birds above prepare, choral, quarrel
while tree-dwellers dig diligently, nesting. 
 
Searching for a nut in the same place
A nut in the same place for searching
 
The rake rakes, resenting its behavior
seizing the former tree canopy's remains,
hoarding them in his teeth, a gesture, favor
to the world where he once belonged, free, complete.
 
Metal limbs telling me I'm trapped by you
Trapped by metal limbs, I'm you, telling me
 
The Hunter's Moon soon turns his head, peeking through
clouds, nimbostratus, busy, and opaque.  
His lullaby quells the thoughts turning askew
as frost blankets the earth, slumber commences. 
 
We didn't know the disaster we'd cause
and the disaster we caused didn't know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Lines

by petro c.k.

harvest moon
the foodbank line
a bit longer