Friday, May 26, 2023

Against the current

by Kevin Browne

against the current
a muskrat tests
the spring chill


by Chen-ou Liu

the call 
of a Canada warbler 
mist-choked over water

River Avon

by Farah Ali

River Avon
a smudge of otter
ripples the surface 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Already Noon

by David Chorlton
The air’s a friendly buzz
and breath is honey
on the desert trail that feels
its way from spring
to early summer and the cool
interiors where flickers
raise their young in a saguaro
or the point
at which to decide between the knowledge
of coyotes or the garter
snakes who occupy
the narrow world the news
doesn’t reach; not the overnight
shooting, not
the lines along the southern border
where heat
comes begging for asylum,
and not the storms that pass
between the races. Nothing here
is ever broken; it just
collapses and decays like
dry mesquite and cactus hearts
soaking up the sunlight
even when it stings.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Coal Fires

by Keith Melton
Grandfather Mountain, thawing 
Expanding in molten rants, stone prairies
Casting about the heavens
The earth rippling; stone plateaus, rivers
Peaks and ancient balds, once majestic
Awakening to acid rain, sulphur and the gray leaves of mortality.
Distant cities, warming  
Islands of light born from the furnace
Fire and coal, the turbines
Like magicians toiling in garages
Freeways across the land
Sending diesel clouds into the sky.
Coal fires, burning
Becoming the spawn of the earth, Appalachian spring
Brittle, sedges burning, cliffs barren
Spruce and hemlock dying away
Tourists silent before
Barren trees.
In clouds of coal ash, no text message, no smoke signal.

The Unbearable Weight of Silence

by Doug Stone
After all these years when he walks across Tiananmen square,
the pavement still vibrates with the rhythmic rumble of idling tanks,
the quick, slick, metallic slide and click of machine guns cocking,
the murmur of fear swirling through the crowd like trapped water,
then the sound of gunfire and all those screams eating the air.
 That moment still quivers through his feet into his bones,
quickens the rhythm of his heart, his breath at a dead run,
stumbles, gasping until all the jagged sounds of that day
flat line into an unbearable silence too heavy to carry anymore.

Not All Russians Are Assholes

by Al Ortolani
The mailbox is frozen shut. The mailman
smacks the ice away with his fist, drives
down the road towards the next box
planted on a fence post, leaning from years
of constant wind. They are stuffed with
brochures, catalogued
cruises down European rivers, a time-share
on Marco Island, a glossy envelope of hybrid
tomato seeds for the tray in the window.
There hasn’t been a real letter to open
since Wi-Fi reached the plains, since Google
ran its highspeed cable next to the barbed wire.
In the church office, the minister
searches conspiracy theories for simple answers
to complex problems. Blades
of winter wheat green-up through the sleet
of today’s storm. In years past,
homesteaders planted Russian seeds
that could survive Kansas winters
when nothing grew
except the hope of meadowlarks.

Friday, May 19, 2023


by Farah Ali

mudlarking along
the Thames
dunlins gather  

The San Lorenzo

by Jeff Burt

The San Lorenzo dries
swallows dabble in a trough
take mud from horseshoes

Morning mist

by Joshua St. Clair

morning mist settling
on the Susquehanna’s banks
bird’s-eye speedwell

Music of Rewa

by Monica Kakkar

marble rocks' sculptress
pebbles to Banalingas
music of Rewa

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Mice in the Coal Fields

by Al Ortolani
The office car is abandoned
on a spur of railroad track. It is filled
with dust and gray sunlight. Some windows
are locked in their final shutting,
others broken or riveted with .22 caliber holes.
The door hangs on a single hinge, jamb split,
shattered by vandals. The mining company,
long gone under, has stripped the pastures of the coal
that lay soft and bituminous in its belly.
Bills of sale, receipts, orders indecipherable
litter the floor, catch the breeze, flutter like birds.
The miners who made the transition
from deep shaft to strip mining
drew small pensions or moved on to more
promising veins. Mice run the floorboards,
stuffing file cabinets with fescue, bits of letterhead,
mimeographed paperwork. Even in triplicate
commerce is consumed by mildew, by rough
bark dogwood, by switchgrass. The end
of each workday brings more loose shale.
Overhead a turkey buzzard circles, feathers
like piano keys fingered by wind.

Getting More Than The Drift

by David L Williams

It’s less than perfect river time unless
The feel of water swells against the skin,
With bubbles rising as from fishes’ breaths
And currents stirring feelings like the wind.
The driftwood and the litter on the banks
Might get scant notice, and though clearly dead,
They manage somehow still to join the ranks
Of ducks and railroad bridges overhead.
Passing beneath, one’s path defies straight lines,
The view distracted by some chemistry
Of downstream nudges, heeding current signs,
Becoming like a point in history
Somewhere between the source and yawning mouth,
Which opens, where it’s warmer, way down south.

Mannequins Yearning for Eye Contact

by Cathryn Shea
While visiting Santa Fe, which feels
a world away from my home state,
I’m disoriented tripping upon a lacuna
where monuments once stood
to honor the extermination tactics
of Diego de Vargas and Kit Carson.
And the Indian Wars, America’s real
longest war. And where monuments
that should have been to Pueblo and Navajo
never were, never mentioned
on the edges of my schoolyear textbooks—
Part of existence that’s toppled in a new day.

Back home in Marin, the county named
for coast Miwok Chief Marin, under a sky
dimmed with fall fires, I drive west to hike
to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon, named
for two brothers who grabbed the land
in 1858 for dairy ranching. I try to escape
from the remembrance of amended history,
eyeless busts and statues all over my country
erected to crimes. They used to remind me
of mannequins yearning for eye contact.

Named for a Southern Pacific Railroad
land agent who nobody seems to remember,
Redding, the town I grew up in, overlooking
the Sacramento had cornerstones we ignored
on brick buildings from the mid-1800s,
no generals I knew of atop bronze horses.
As if to pretend that lands weren’t stolen,
the first peoples weren’t massacred: Modoc,
Wintu, Yana, Pit River, and Klamath River tribes.
Like there was nothing to remember.
The historic brothels and saloons have been
demolished now, transplanted by parking lots.

Away from history’s rubble, at the western limit
of the continent, weight of the atmosphere
presses down on me. Sand in my face, water-doused,
I feel the collapse of seafoam. Trying to convince me
the past won’t be repeated, the sweet talk of Pacific spray.

Sunday, May 14, 2023


by Kelley J. White

peering through the mist
half day light
horses in the rain


by Terrence Sykes

summer fragrance blooms
sweet peas sprawling in the ditch
planted years ago

monastic dweller
plum rain falls upon my soul
mulberries & tea

star dust labyrinth
water birch & willow trees
harvest quagmired hours

mirages olive groves
smudged silver grey leaves sway
chimera summer

raging thunderstorms
mythological proverbs
mere pilgrims we are

bitter wild lettuce
beneath this ancient chestnut
shading my body

seasons lie in wait
sweeping autumn leaves aside
chrysanthemums bloom

garden hours rust
weeds shall be our nourishment
share with the rabbits

morning rain mushrooms
soup simmering fire
fragrance of dried fennel seed

rivers of vines soar
cicadas call out to me
lightening bugs are stars

berries fermented
birds flint about the garden
bitter wine to pour

dawn came early
weaving fog in the relics
sprout laden garden

ashes of vespers
scattered upon fresco’d sky
wind tangles my soul

rest in this season
leaves dance in the wind
torn unread pages

pokeweed berry ink
now tobacco brown
once shone lilac brilliance

budding olive saplings
genuflect in the squall
mucked cardoons resurrect

virginia creeper
climbing like jacob’s ladder
hoeing the tilled fields

cloud constellations
voyages to fables isles

forage a craft
sail into oblivion
map my escape

clouds & fabled isles
prune that ruminating light
crayfish augury

chanting cicada
where is your monastery
heal my weary soul

Friday, May 12, 2023

Where There Are Forks

by James Penha

the Lehigh River
flowing shallow this spring
from lack of snowfall

the Lehigh River 
ranks second among toxic
US waterways

the Lehigh River
wholly owned by Lehigh Coal
till 1966

the Lehigh River’s
name stolen from Lenape
for where there are forks

Cowichan River, B. C.

by petro c.k.

riverbed rocks
salmon remains

Granchester Flows into the Cam

by Sarah das Gupta 

Move on, nothing here
 - only the flash
of a kingfisher's brilliance
only fine strands
of bright green hair
only the rise and fall
of clouds of gnats
only the last fingers
of light touching
the line of willows
only the first song
of the nightingale -
No, nothing
Nothing at all


by Pranab Ghosh

One step in water
The shadow of the crane floats
Where are the fishes?

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Temple of the Azure Clouds

by Uchechukwu Onyedikam/Christina Chin

Temple of the Azure Clouds 
beside the Keluang river—
come to venerate
the monk's birthday 

Winnipeg River
by Debbie Strange


Belisima Ribble

by Andrew Collinson
Trickles and drips from limestone lips
ichor, earthy wounds gentle issue
mossy Ribblehead springs and gills
Cam and Gayle beck’s confluence fresh and free
Piped by meadow pipit calls, Belisima Ribble
wends down - to suckle the Irish sea
Three peaks and Roman road near
crows-foot veins nourish flow. Jam, Syke, Shivery
Long, Lat and Mares Gill’s all make young
jugular Belisima grow. Dipper, plover
and stonechat love her, in punctuated
rapid’s steady melisma billow
Stumbling as tot over gritstone rock, a tyke finds her feet
more Yorkshire waters strive and meet
sheep-washing a dammed job for the youngster
She can be harsh and freeze and riffle in breeze
where Swale’s on their knee’s drink her
grey wagtail’s bob yellow, chit and thrive
Milled, wheeled and Pudsey leaped, energetic teen waters put to work
through Settle Gisburn Denham and Bolland, forded bridged and hipp-stoned
Past Fooden’s otter cave the rarely captive teenager slips through landscape
waters downhill escape, quietly moving, an occasional burble or
whispered swirl, a gently moving quiet girl
Her stony hips camouflage redshank and teetering sand piper
near kingfisher and martin’s holy banks. Shy, deceptively strong
naturally covert moving along -she’s smitten. The wild Hodder
industrial Calder and Belisima all wed near Mitton. Unquestioned
she rides Sale Wheel overt before Ribchester’s Roman ford
winding deep as cormorant’s fish, she’s wider, mature and lish
Belisima Ribble quietly broods with certain moods
she can giggle and laugh along the path and boil
in swollen rage. She will dance in fun, potter and run from
mountain issue to old age, coloured brackish
or clear, when the heavens come down she’ll turn
builder tea brown, flooding fascinating fear
The tide rips up a bore as curlew, oyster catcher and snipe probe mud
Thousand’s feed breed and nest round muddy reed
geese - red legged and brent witness Belisima Ribble’s
marshy manifold un-robe, Southport to St Annes
exhausted and spent, she lopes away - to suckle the Irish sea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Extinct Today

by John Grey
So what in the world's gone now,
what forest, stream or maybe
parking lot, housing estate,
acquired its unknown absence.
No scrape, no whistle,
no pouncing on some tiny woodland
creature that has no clue how
much safer life's become.
Who marks down these things?
Who listens for the unheard echo?
Imagine it. Entire populations
of living creatures gone like some people.
No, you can't imagine it.
You don't know what to imagine.
So where’s the smooth handfish?
What about the harlequin frog?
Has anyone seen the stubfoot toad?
Or the spined dwarf mantis?

Now if you only had the corpse.
But no one knows one's needed.


by Douglas J. Lanzo

last elephant
lurks at forest’s edge
disappearing with the trees


by Lynne Goldsmith

fireflies flashing bright
cold light dusk
summer magnolia trees

Consumption Advisories

by H. W. Day

Asiatic honeysuckle
stems breath & water,
life, & the twining vine of sweet death.

& such sweet death
appropriates a trolling misery
when fish are feeling lunar.
Below the glinted Tallapoosa
a $5 spinnerbait snags a Christmas tree
sunk the Winter prior. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023


by Lynne Goldsmith

eurasian doves
nest in blue spruce tree


by Carl Mayfield 

cooper's hawk swoop--
     eurasian collared dove


by David Josephsohn

gulls and garbage
we embrace 
on the beach

Friday, May 5, 2023

Rio Grande

by Eavonka Ettinger

Rio Grande
beside the north tree
teens drinking 

Vistula River, Poland

by petro c.k.

end of winter
a straw effigy
floats away

Painted willow

by Kimberly Horning

painted willow  a bent in the river


by Mona Bedi

summer sun
a lapwing struts
across the Murray

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


by Jan Wiezorek

Grasses like dried branches
this spring along the creek.

Green prints, eyes placed, 
small fists, lines drawn 

like vision or desire.
The grey turkeys get up

and fly fifteen or twenty
to the limbs, where 

they disappear.
Diminished speech,

alphabetic, to land 
on a hanging “Y”

or a sleeping “P.” 
Chasing the hillside 

with a voice—
muffled and heard

from trees, 

falling bark, needles, 
rounding and rolling

to a natural 

of mystery.    

Hope’s Spring

by Karla Linn Merrifield

There are no toxins;
no further notes of drought,
of famine, nor of tectonic 
fractures in Hawai’i, 
earthquakes in Oklahoma, Arkansas.
No sinkholes of any metaphoric ilk.              
Only the expectant pair
of northern rough-winged swallows
feeding in lazy spirals, snipping up 
dizzy-darting flying insect prey,
and now perched on a fence railing,
sable mating plumage in morning sun.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

I Wish I Were Whitman

by Anthony Snider

listening to the sailor.
His mouth – all pride
speaking the steel ship –
its many cargoes –
his hand caressing the great grey hull
without its even knowing it was

smaller than the North Sea wave
that will push it (building even now
moving to where they will meet)
china and motors and sailors

back up the river of goods
past the showroom and warehouse
the fabricators, machinists, past
silver and bauxite and bales of white
cotton biding time
in the break in bulk ports

to the many points of genesis –
birth in the warm dark soil
precipitate chemistry
and angry groaning magma.


by Karla Linn Merrifield

the tide does not go out
rather it falls
coral reef appears
secreted shoals
as turquoise retreats
to horizon-deep blue
flying the ebb

Friday, April 28, 2023

Death grip

by Sunil Sharma
in the embrace
of hyacinths.

evening puja

by Mona Bedi

evening puja
we dance to the sound of cymbals
on the Haridwar ghat

morning dew

Mark Gilbert

morning dew
daisies yet to open
and the stream

childhood river

by Chen-ou Liu

the murmur
of this childhood river 
same old me, and yet...

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


by Tony Williams

Aberdeen's homeless
wakened by gulls


by M. R. Pelletier

Night shift—
   the weeds collect
   beads of dew


by Chen-ou Liu

a staring contest
with myself in the store window ...
red-tag food prices


by Monica Kakkar

sakura peak blooms
welcome honshu's spring goddess
red list gifu chō

Sunday, April 23, 2023


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

Pluie tôt le matin
Un simple mot pour la grâce
Les morts répètent
Early morning rain
A simple word for grace
                                                              The dead rehearse
Das Yin-Yang-Eigelb
gut/böse Muscheln brechen auf
Caw caw caw-caw-caw
The Yin-Yang yolk
Good/evil shells crack open
                                                             Caw caw caw-caw-caw
Vuelos de colibrí
Abrir la cremallera
Nada sublime
Hummingbird flights
                                                               Sublime nothingness
Palillos de lluvia revuelven
Sufrimiento y adoración
como uno y el mismo
Chopsticks of rain stir
Suffering and adoration
                                                              As one and the same
Aðallega bara úr vatni
Við getum alltaf hellt
Fyrir utan hið þekkta
Mostly made of just water
We can always pour
                                                                 Beyond the known

Friday, April 21, 2023

withered reeds

by Tony Williams

withered reeds
a crow rinsing its beak
in the Kelvin

Bali Metamorphosis

 by James Penha

rainy season replenishes
little Yeo Ho
to become a river raging

John Berryman's Splash

by Jerome Berglund

Washington Bridge
takes a step
poet sound