Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Silence of Printed Thought

by Doug Draime

of it
even a
the earth

metamorphosis 2

by Theresa A. Cancro

small tadpoles wriggle no knowledge
of the miscreant tattered footfalls
muddled on the bank dropped underneath,
in slick form, cropped without water.

bull frogs taunt at the end of the rock-strewn
ledge, recoil legs and bulging throats
that rumble; they destroy numb flies
of decked love with the tips of their tongues.

Chain Lightning

 by Stefanie Bennett

Hard facts sleep softly
If you let them: like
Grey shepherds
Conjured up
In ‘The Good Book’.

Such occurrences
The mind
To itself...
Its humming
Self –.


by David Chorlton

Daylight has slipped downslope
next to a cabin left behind

when everyone around it packed up
and took their picks and shovels

as they moved away without knowing
where to. Theirs was a short and noisy

time. Nights are silent without them. Except
for the black whispers when long-nosed bats

steer between the trees
with their wing bones shining.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thrice-Used Water

by Taylor Graham

Frogs fall out of the wet-mop hung to dry.
They’ve come from a neighbor’s pond,
its puzzle-bottom of baked hardpan.
No water anymore, the landscape’s brittle
as thirst. In a basin I collect our showers
to mop the kitchen floor, twice-used water
I’ll toss on the cedar tree outside my door.
I dunk my mop, its stiff strings loosening.
Out swim two tiny frogs from the oasis,
the only damp in this land, hung out to dry.

On the River Near the Fifth Bridge

by Tom Sheehan

This morning the sea
walks up the Saugus River
chanting on grey cubits of air
talking sail and spar talk,
the way trees worry themselves tired
and ache like old houses the wind
has a secret desire for.

Birds, blacker than some thoughts,
make mischievous noises here
all along the brush path
through rocks, as tides turn
the out in and the in out,
a clock at midnight's exchange,
where hands make the decision.

These birds, raucous
journeymen at nerves,
pirates at orgy's wars,
masters of chord limericks,
hosts of madcap mornings,
only allow the sea so far
on this inland run.
If this is a paradise, they clamor
their thanksgiving.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


by Ryan Warren

Wind, playing across
sun-rippled crystal water—
but still the foghorn.

Resurrection Creek

by Terrence Sykes

walking along the bank
of this creek
first days of spring
winter naked trees
unable to name
in their leaflessness
ash beech  birch
dogwood  maple mulberry
summer will rise &
names will be given to each
autumn pentecostal banner
soon my winter will come
silently lay me down
amongst these woods
place  an acorn in my hand
I shall rise a mighty oak

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gold Rush Park

by Taylor Graham

An acrid whiff from the mouth of the mine –
closed except on weekends; pay a toll
to enter. Quartz debris is scattered like gold-
dregs on a brushy hill where they evicted
the homeless, above old ruins of the pest-
house, its tuberculars buried in a swale.
Here’s another year of drought, dead leaves
swirling in a blizzard of August breeze.
Far overhead, a klondike-blue sky
of unattainable desire where a buzzard sails –
Nature’s custodian cleaning up the spoils.

Tears I Shed Yesterday Have Become Rain

Trees for Life, Dundreggan
by Helen Moore

in low boats of cloud harboured in the tree-ringed mountains,
in the Bracken, Ling, Bell Heather that cling to bare peaks,
in ancient Oak, Scots Pine, Aspen, Alder, Birch,
in purple Blaeberry juice staining our hands,
in a burn’s icy milk charging a gorge,
in gilded clarity of pools –
tears I shed

in boggy trickles,
red hairy Sundew, Butterwort leaves
spread like skins of small, green bananas,
in Meadowsweet, in Orchid, in dusky yellow stars
of St John’s Wort, in a Birch stump with Polypore hard
as granite hooves, in the Dragonfly perched by the loch,
in people replanting the Caledonian Forest – tears I’ve shed

in Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Crested Tit, in spewed guts of a Toad
crushed on the road, in the tourists pedalling up the glen,
in Water Avens’ claret petals, in the Moriston’s
broad expanse, in snouts of Wild Boar
rootling on its banks, in Hare-
bell, in Eye-bright –
tears I shed

in Foxgloves
nodding by the wall, in fairy
horns of Lichen, pale as snuff, in the dawn
mists encircling the yurt on the day
of my departure – the tears
of the Great Heart
pulsing in all

From an Appalachian Peak, a Small Red Star for Me and My Father

 by Tom Sheehan

This appointment came when light tired, this arrangement, this syzygy of him and me and the still threat of a small red star standing some time away at my back, deeper than a grain of memory. I am a quarter mile from him, hard upward on this rugged rock he could look up to if only his eyes would agree once more, and it’s a trillion years behind my head or a parsec I can’t begin to imagine, they tell me even dead perhaps, that star. Can this be a true syzygy if one is dead, if one is leaning to leave this line of sight regardless of age or love or density or how the last piece of light might be reflected, or refused, if one leaves this imposition? The windows of his room defer no light to this night, for it is always night there, blood and chemicals at warfare, nerve gone, the main one providing mirror and lethal lens, back of the eyeball no different than out front, but I climb this rock to line up with another rock and him in the deep seizure of that stolen room, bare sepulcher, that grotto of mind.

Today I bathed him, the chest like an old model car, boned but collapsible, forgotten in a lowlands back room, a shelf, a deep closet, waiting to be crushed at the final blow, skin of the organ but a veneer of fatigue, the arms pried as from a child’s drawing, the one less formidable leg, the small testes hanging their forgotten-glove residuum which had begun this syzygy, the face closing down on bone as if a promise had been made toward an immaculately thin retrieval, and, at the other imaginable end of him, the one foot bloody from his curse, soured yet holier in mimicry of the near-Christ (from Golgotha brought down and put to bed, after god and my father there are no divinities), toenails coming on a darkness no sky owned, foot bottom at its own blood bath, at war, at the final and resolute war with no winner.

Oh, Christ, he’s had such wars, outer and inner, that even my hand in warmth must overcome, and he gums his gums and shakes his head and says, sideways, mouth screwed into his outlandish grin, as much a lie as any look, as devious, cold-fact true, “I used to do this for you,” the dark eyes hungry to remember, to bring back one moment of all those times to this time; and I cannot feel his hand linger on me, not its calluses gone the way of flesh or its nails thicker now than they ever were meant to be, or skin flaking in the silence of its dust-borne battle, though we are both younger than the star that’s behind us and dead perhaps, as said; then, in a moment, and only for a moment, as if all is ciphered for me and cut away, I know the failure of that small red star, its distillation and spend still undone, its yawn red as yet and here with us on the endless line only bent by my imagination, the dead and dying taking up both ends of me, neither one a shadow yet but all shadows in one, perhaps a sort of harmless violence sighting here across an endless known.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Icarus Unbound

by Terrence Sykes

forboden  forbidden forsaken forgotten
strewn stuttered syllables
litter upon
the Seine

Mysterious shrines

by Tammy T. Stone

Mysterious shrines
In forest
Gods making
Their own light
We spend our lives
Trying to discover


by Ryan Warren

Yellow sourgrass
nodding on the windblown bluff
a thousand yeses.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

then again the fish

by KT Lowe

The tidal wave is coming
but then again the fish
always swallows the worm
on the waiting hook
only to become dinner
that evening.

Preparing for a road trip

by Tim Duffy

The sky is the same
but the powerlines
fade into the sky
and become mountains
trees or the hollow
gap between worn down homes.
Park anywhere, close your eyes,
dream of the grass that will one day
hold on to you forever.

Back to Nature

by KC Bosch

I love your view,
the animals too.
Sun rise, sunset,
midday shadows.
Leaf changing,
food chasing,
nest building.
Seemingly benign
out of the blue,
or should I say
lightening filled black.
You send a Deracho
ripping down trees,
tearing up walls.
Cute little Spanish
right hook,
a punch to the gut.
Knocking down wires
forcing us closer to you,
no water in the tap
we bathe in your pond,
electric lights out.
We gaze at your stars.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Long Heat

by Joanna M. Weston

the sun has shone for weeks
leaving grass gasping
on broken stalks
        birds tumble the sky
        wings burnt with longing
        for deep rivers
trees claw faint clouds
striving to break
those closed doors
        people refuse to touch
        fearing to share sweat
        for another’s thirst

Loons and Cranes

by Catfish McDaris

Rainbow cutthroat trout leaping
for the gnat hatch, fat frogs burping,
loons and cranes on stilts hunting.

Sleep's ragged breath

by M.J. Iuppa

Sleep’s ragged breath ransacks our chilly room.
Full moon snagged in the sycamore’s branches.
Red star pulses on the radio tower.


by David Subacchi

Rising on the opposite side of Monte Penna
To Taro, your more powerful partner
You join its stronger flow later
On the left bank of Fornovo
In Italy’s Emilia Romagna
From there only a tributary
Your entire length is confined
Within the province of Parma

In temperament like my people
Lazy in summer, fierce in winter
Always struggling for attention
To demonstrate your worth
Against the competition.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Damascus Road
Anthus Trivialis: the tree pipit

by Peter Branson

This Saturday, sun blessed, May blossoming,
via crumbled watermill, you’re on retreat,
bird you can’t place, its habit strange. It springs
from crown of hawthorn sapling, calls to mind
the meadow lark, wings whirring, launch from sward
to rise, sing, spiral, land, then soar afresh.
Thought-flicking where you’ve garnered, fix the page,
your used “Observers’ Book”, portrait an’ text.
This is no screaming popin-jay, all post-
war ration shades of grey. Each tumbling gyre,
no sacrilege to undermine, time stalls,
so when you stumble on those marbled gems,
miraculous, the gods onside for once,
though tempted, falling angel, you decline.

Westerly, a Prose Poem

by Tom Sheehan

It is brittle now, the remembering, how we drove you east with your backpack like a totem in the rear seat, so that you could walk westerly across the continent’s spine, across the sum of all the provinces, through places you had been before, and we had been, and the Cree and the Owlcreek bear and wolves envisioned when night screams upwind the way stars loose their valid phantoms.

Now it seems the ready truth that juxtaposition is just a matter of indifference, because we have all been where we are going, into selves, shadows, odd shining, all those places the mind occupies, or the heart, or a lung at exercise. You had already passed places you would come into when we knew your hailing us down, thumb a pennant, face a roadside flag halting our pell-mell island rush.

To go westerly, to walk across the world’s arching top, you said you had to go east, to know Atlantic salt, kelp girding rocks at anchor, clams sucking the earth down, to be at ritual with Europe’s ocean itself, that mindless sea of lonely buoy bells arguing their whereabouts in the miseries of fog, singular as canyon coyote.

We promised you holy water at Tormentine, reaching place of The Maritimes, a fist ready for Two-Boat Irish Islanders, Cavendish’s soft sand, holy trough of journey, wetting place, publican’s house of the first order, drinks hale and dark and well met and Atlantic ripe as if everything the bog’s known the drink has.

It’s more apparent now, after you moved outbound, or inward on the continent, trailing yourself, dreams, through wild Nations once ringing one another, your journey’s endless. Nine years at it, horizons loose on eternity, trails blind-ending in a destiny of canyons too deep to be heard, and your mail comes scattered like echoes, horseshoes clanging against stakes in twilight campgrounds, not often enough or soon enough or long enough, only soft where your hand touches hide, hair, heart caught out on the trail, wire-snipped, hungry, heavy on the skewers you rack out of young spruce.
Out of jail, divinity school, bayonet battalion, icehouse but only in winters, asking Atlantic blessing for your march into darkness, light, we freed you into flight. You have passed yourself as we have, heading out to go back, up to go down, away from home just to get home. Are you this way even now, windward, wayward, free as the falcon on the mystery of a thermal, passing through yourself?
You go where the elk has been, noble Blackfoot of the Canadas, beaver endless in palatial gnawing, all that has gone before your great assault, coincident, harmonic, knowing that matter does not lose out, cannot be destroyed, but lingers for your touching in one form or another, at cave mouth, closet canyon, perhaps now only falling as sound beneath stars you count as friends and confidants. Why is your mail ferocious years apart in arrival? You manage hotels, prepare salads, set great roasts for their timing, publish a book on mushrooms just to fill your pack anew and walk on again, alone, over Canada’s high backbone, to the islands’ ocean, the blue font you might never be blessed in. Nine years at it! Like Troy counting downward to itself: immense, imponderable, but there.

A year now since your last card, Plains-high, August, a new book started, but no topic said, one hand cast in spruce you cut with the other hand, your dog swallowed by a mountain, one night of loving as a missionary under the Pole Star and canvas by a forgotten road coming from nowhere.

We wonder, my friend, if you are still walking, if you breathe, if you touch the Pacific will Atlantic ritual be remembered as we remember it: high-salted air rich as sin, wind-driven like the final broom, gulls at havoc, at sea a ship threatening disappearance, above it all a buoy bell begging to be heard, and our eyes on the back of your head.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

At Reserva Caleta on the Osa Peninsula

by Karla Linn Merrifield

This Costa Rican garden far more
abundant than any mythical Eden,
bolder, redder, in deeper
golden yellow, a bluer blue,

a pair rustle upper limbs
in the flash and flame of feathers
of macaw copulation—in a blur
they mate in saturated living colors.

Winterlude on the River

by Cristina M. R. Norcross

The warm scent of fried dough,
decorated with cinnamon sugar
and squeezed lemon juice,
fills the air.

Frozen water artwork,
laced with lines of ice skate markings,
appears on the Ottawa River.

Winterlude comes to a close,
as intricate ice sculptures of eagles and bears
start to morph and melt.
The big collection and clearing begins –
forgotten, sticky squares of wax paper
and hot chocolate drips,
still clinging to paper cups.

Sacred Universe

by Maury Grimm

Sacred Universe. It must be the light of this near full moon that tricks my eyes into seeing every star, planet moving. Or maybe it is the eyes aging as they will, as they are.

The morning light floods slowly along the edge of the Sangres, red and orange like those mountains. Perhaps a reflection of the singular lenticular clouds that drift along the scree. And I, up at 3am and again in this past hour, waiting by the northeastern windows for a light to trail across this morning sky.

For me, this is really the beginning of the new season of years, upon tonight's full moon.

The prayer resounds fuller now into my 61st year, knowing all these evolutions--if I allow--bring me closer to myself.

And that is the prayer, to be. To be the whole and best, to work at my connections, my passion, my family and friends. Not behind the veneer one endures to sometimes 'grow up'. No, I want to grow out and in. Simultaneously out, in, around and continue to spiral to myself, to the Universe.

For in the light, before the cacophony of news, of day, of traveling, we are as old and as young in it. In one breath exhaled, inhaled.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hawk Rising

by Peter Branson

There’s me, that mould of feather, stalled beneath
its pall of rusting bracken, putrid mass.
They’ve got me wrong, those poets, my blood-glazed eye;
slim pickings, narrow margins, misery
one mischief ride away, the constant theme
of gorge, then fast till keen, no second chance.
The slightest injury, bland circumstance,
blunting my cutting edge, stirs loitering death.
You’ll fade to nothing by degrees, no snare
nor keeper’s neat dispatch – that still goes on –
nor poison, seamless crime these days. My world,
the sharp survive, Sod’s law, necessity,
hunter and prey. I’m here, soaring star high;
one blink, infinity, blinding blue sky.


by M.J. Iuppa

five stones nestle
on an open palm. I glimpse
a starling– black wings ready
to fly                                  

Sleeping Ducks

by Catfish McDaris

Dangerous peacocks in a raspberry
sky, green sleeping ducks by the
cattail forest and melodic stream.


by Doug Draime

Cascades of chiseled light
above tornadoes of burning

Yet innocence conquers the warring
in the black hearts of fools

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Desert Night

by Ed HIggins

Under the high desert sky
just below Wrightwood
backpacking the East Fork
of the San Gabriel River
and listening to the vast
stars over the Mojave desert
as we spoke of their
unfathomable height
that never could be reached
while we stood kissing
under a Joshua tree
flowering cream-white blossoms
against the dark star-full sky
the scent of youth in the desert air.

the Charente

by Lee Nash

it flows fast
or it barely moves
bursts its banks
dries up to nothing
but meandering

In an old hotel by the end of a river

by Mark James Andrews

she licked her finger tip
unable to turn a proper page
in a magazine laying in her lap
sitting on the radiator at the window
dry skin eyes squinting
glass grime sun smog hidden
whereabouts unknown
in an old hotel by the end of a river.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Saugus, Embassy of the Second Muse

by Tom Sheehan

He has come out of a dread silence and given himself a name; Saugus, he says. He bleats like a tethered goat to come out of that coming, to be away, dense spiral to the core of self, to the mountain call, bird arc across such slopes of pale imaginings. Saugus, he says: I am that part of you cries not for the love but intimacy of words, light touch of skin we dread and seek, owning up of self as if in another. I am that part of you named endless searcher, thirsty one, guzzler, sufferer, warred on, the starved and the wasted, that part of you you can’t turn over by yourself. I have the secrets you do not know you know. I am lodged in a far corner of mind, some fallow place at reins’ end, waiting to be routed out, turned up, to green a page again. Has it taken you so long to find me, or do you ignore me and try it on your own? You cannot avoid documented lightning, shock of metaphor, God on one knee, Saugus. I am not a stranger. I breathe with you, find shelter and warmth when you do, know the single star haunting the edge of your horizon, know best of all the magic when the sound is right, Oh, Thomas! when the sound is the music of one word  upon another, and it tears two parts of soul to four because nothing like it has been heard before, when the word dances on its consonants, slides on soft vowels, when the spine knows the word is known by every ganglia, thong and sinew of the body. The coring.

I am Saugus and you waste me away, cast me aside. I who carry all sounds of memory, cast me aside at breast-panning, when you lose the music down in some phantom crotch, when a sweet ass ties your brain in knots. Now, just now, Thomas, feel the core wind in. Feel the word rock in you. Find the word rock. Chip at it. Let the chisel fly, the sparks dance out globally, the word broken away from the granite source in you. Don’t you know me, Thomas? I am the gate tender. I am the one who lets you find the word rock. I am the key man. I let you into that vast field of yourself where the rock grows. I am Saugus, and I tend that field where the rock lies in the sacred cairn. We meet so infrequently. I keep myself here waiting on you, the gate eager to rise, the field waiting to know your tread, the rock waiting to be beat upon by the hammer of your desire. I am lonely when you wander. It is dark and fearful without you. And yet I can make you cry when I am lonely. You don’t believe me yet… I am Saugus who makes you cry.

You can’t tease me, please me, appease me. Just use me. I am servant of servants. I am Id’s Id’s Id, ego sans ego sans ego. I am to be used, exploited, submitted. And I guard that huge rock in you, tend it, know what filled it dense as hardpan that time in Boxford field and you hurt all over; dense as the frozen earth DeMatteo dug fox holes with C-3 and it finally blew off the back of his head and Colonel Mason said, “Shit!”; dense as Vinegar Hill or Indian Rock or that rock wall outside Schenectady and you stopped to change a tire at her waving and she slid down that wall at her back motioning to you her bodily gratitude. Dense is that word rock, full of all your lore and legend bricked with every movement you’ve ever known, all sights and sounds and music of the words; that special place where the thing rings in you, that place of core vibration.

Jesus, Thomas, take my hand again! Walk in the field with me. We belong together, you and I. Dispel me of doom. Let the music of words come, let them dance first in your eye, roll on your tongue, live to die on the page. Let them vibrate on your spine, get kissed of your skin, shoot out of here in flight of geese, and mournful sound of heading home when there is no home, steaming freight train whistle calling you from a circle of blue nights, self shout at the moon still shining on a hill East of Cleveland, South of Yang-du, East again a long stretch from the Chugach given you in a word picture, West of a cliff near Kerry and rain moved as a god laughing at the rootstock of your silence, Celtic mummery, God buried in stone. If you can’t come with me, Thomas, you are the loser, lonely, forsaken. I can take you back to all the hard places,  to the adjectives and verb ends; to the quadrangle in Japan in 1951 and the cool wind coming through Camp Drake and the voice of death talking in it and calling out all your comrades’ names and it didn’t talk your name and you still felt sad and knew you were the only ear. In three weeks they were gone, all gone, and their voices went into ground, and all their words, and they built on the word rock and now they still dance sadly… such words that make you cry with music still in them, and they come long and slowly out of another time funnel, like Billy Pigg cursing as he rolled over in your arms and Captain Kay saying, “I just want to go home to Memphis for a little while and tell Merle and Andy I love them. Just for an hour or so.”  .

Ah, Thomas, come home again.
  Come you home again,
    Lest dust grabs us with the wind,

makes of this pairing
  a double-down burial,
    leaves our Saugus by itself.

All names brought to fore,
   friends and comrades of the field,
     come along with us,

celebrate the birth
  of death, first part to let go,
    say they are gone, disappeared

the way departure
  happens when you're not looking
    for ways to get free.

for a last handshake,
  not having one at the start
    when it all began;

under wire and fire
  and a veteran of the wars
    teaching how to die,

one hand finger talk
  saying nothing and it all
    coming down to this.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Televised On ABC For Us All To Watch

by Doug Draime

No one wanted to watch the films, or listen to
the sounds of torture  ...  at the dinner table
everyone held America flags,
made in China to ripple in freeway wind,
on Japanese cars.

In the nation’s capital they were eating food: $5000
a plate. The guests were politicians, generals, bankers,
brokers, CEO’s of corrupt and sinister corporations, IRS mucky mucks,
movie stars, assassins, informers, FBI, CIA, murderers and assorted
thieves ... the cream of America’s disease.

My Friend Jacques

by Emily Ramser

My childhood best friend was a pear tree
with a bent branch
named Jacques.
He hated when people ate his pears,
so he never grew any,
except once
for me.


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

faces frozen
into Thai demon monkey head masks
that feast on
compulsive illusions
and enchanted bitterness

two homeless dogs
ceremoniously copulate
in the middle
of a busy city street
like a perfectly matched pair
of fatal flaws
who permanently vanquish
one another

Sunday, August 2, 2015


by Stefanie Bennett

You stride the flat of my hand
Egg of the world.
Painfully shy, you stretch out
Your two new legs
Always on sunset.

To tell the rest of it, how
You grow sky-high
And crow at length
Would take
The lifetime of listening.

Egg of the world, even this
They’ll say
Is a lie...


by Catfish McDaris

Searching for silver spoon to
make sotol and datura for sun
tea and going on a magic trip.


by M.J. Iuppa

sitting alone
on a bench, watching leaves
spiral in gusts of flashing gold-