Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Scrub land, south of AJB Ranch

by Don Thompson

Was it crows in their black
soutanes, relentless Jesuits,
or was it random night prowlers
that picked the fur to pieces,
bit by bit,
and scattered the rabbit’s carcass
across half an acre?

Or was it the finger of God
sorting through flesh and bone
to find something numinous,
something that belongs only to Him?


by Harry Youtt

The vined tomato begins at last
its crimsoning down into color, deeper and finer,
no longer that green-to-fire-engine-red way

it used to have – of trying to seem
all-grown-up – ready too soon.

But now, with a skin-split-yearning to be devoured,
on the verge of having fallen to the dusty ground, yet
stem-clinging by force of its own will – to be perfect.
Praying for discovery. Now! Only now!

Before this, it was too early.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Word

by Linda Golden

Terebinth, it echoes as it bounces off his tongue
Pulling an ancient memory from the marrow, hiding
Under the wings of forgotten prayers, cascading through
Channels of genetic magma, scorching incarnations
As if they were mere in and out breaths instead of whole
Dotting the hills of Judea, framing the structure of living
Warming in winter, providing shade in lengthening days
Naming a tree, how far back does that go
Who thought such sounds to go with such a being
Whose rough bark and sinewy roots drink holy water
Holding forever secrets of what they have seen

The Twelfth Month

by David Chorlton

The sky across the desert
in December darkens; lined with ice
it passes from a mountain’s edge
to a storm of needles
on flat and open land. Each drop

of morning rain
is speared by one as it descends
and holds its place
as long as there is light inside it.
A shower brushes up against

a windgust searching
for a canyon, but which finds
only the frost blackened
hawk taking leave of a cloud.

Niwa, The Garden (for NT)

by Ed Hack

Niwa, she says. The garden always waits
for you, is there inside the silence you
long for. The path will lead you to a gate
where Bamboo chat in dialect the news
the wind conceals. And round into the sun
you'll walk as light leaps into emptiness
where everything is born. There is no sum,
no calculation there, no need to guess,
no right or wrong. There's just the path that flows,
the boulders where the kami live, the stones
that are the water's secret self that glow
in ocean glints and shimmer into foam.
Be still and you'll be there, she says. It waits
for you to walk the path, come through the gate.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Uncertainty of Winter

by M.J. Iuppa

No snow blooms on hedges    

Everywhere is green— sudden    
rash of magnolia buds, tipped
silver, candles morning’s light

Beauty, briefly spent  

West Side Canal, Freeborn Intake

by Don Thompson

The fog has held off, so far,
clinging to the hills
until it thins to commonplace haze
an hour after dawn.
It’s not quite the season.

But soon, when the oyster white sun
is too feeble to resist,
the fog will close in, will inundate
every solid thing we need
to make sense of ourselves—

blurring our certainties
until we know
how ancient seafarers must have felt
coming at last to the end
of their flat earth.


by Larry Jones

still the mind with meditation
you are the universe
continue selling vacuum cleaners.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice

by Carl Mayfield

the ravens lift off
from the conifer
when shoes
scrape the gravel
at dawn

intrusion is a failure
of bones rattling
into a presence
which alarms the feathers
into wise flight

who is surprised
at the sound
of two feet emerging
from night's dream
more than me

Sunday, December 20, 2015


by Ed Hack

The winds are busy in the trees. Some give
so easily, the feathered ones. Some nod,
while other's don't, the old, who've outlived
centuries, gnarled and weatherworn, the gods
right after Time began, who gave a shape
to emptiness, perhaps are emptiness,
as Lao Tzu insists. The Garden shows fate's
signature--shadows, ripples, wind's caress
or ripping teeth, najimi, balance, in
what's here--old stone against the water's play,
the light and dark, the soft and fierce, the yin
and yang of all there is, not one lost stray
is possible, and all things on their way
to something else, for nothing ever stays.


by Joyce Lorenson

beneath the owl's wings
wintry air
trees lashed with shadow
and at its edge
the river runs slower

A Trip to the Ocean

by Julie Ramon

Wind and seagulls make everyone else
seem far away, and the near, only passing
headlights. Here, it rains in the morning.
Waves bring shells and crabs to the shore.
It accepts everything we don’t. Feet are placed
carefully. We have sticks to poke things
we don’t understand. One morning, we found
a horseshoe crab and rolled it over. It’s legs moved
like a typewriter and made us jump.
Without understanding, you picked it up
and chucked it into the water breaking the smooth
surface between waves, understanding
that certain things don’t belong in certain places,
like us. And, you took my hand
worried it would come back and knew
you would be alright if I was there,
and we were walking towards Missouri.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Neighborhood Garden

by Catfish McDaris

Rabbits ate okra
wrens ate tiny sunflowers
chipmunks ate green beans.


by Joyce Lorenson

white ghosts whirling
towards morning
waking to a cold fire and a dark room
an honest wind rattling the door
and the distance filling with snow

Sunday, December 13, 2015


by Carl Mayfield

From olive tree to conifer
across a pale September sky;
he's changing not before my eyes
but behind his, his heart hammering
a portrait faster than any brush
can stroke, his true colors
swimming in iridescence.

Autumn apocalypse

by Ed Higgins

Beneath maples, oaks, and birches
an autumn apocalypse empties unruly brightness
onto lawns, sidewalks, the shoulders of watchers
and passers by. Whole drifts of madder yellow,
reds, and earth browns loosed to mould and
the gardener’s insufficient rake. By twos, twenties,
more, November jolted branches loose their color.
It is summer’s final uncoiling, fall’s harsh rhetoric
of leaf upon leaf let down, turning apex, flat margin,
base, serrated edges, settling, scattered to ground into
mellifluent lost syntax. Branch, trunk, and root hoard
only green memory now.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


by Stefanie Bennett

How extraordinary:
When light
Fractures light
The dusk shimmers.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


by Theresa A. Cancro

raw night --
window frost muffles
the moon's face


by Theresa A. Cancro

sunbeams  --
a flurry of sparrows
in the pine

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

First Winter Snow

by Catfish McDaris

Birch trees full of black
feathered blue headed grackles
dancing on the wind

Fluttering up down
naked snowy ice branches
all flakes different

Blowing cold smoke rings
my shovel resting awhile
kids make snow angels.


by Angelee Deodhar

camp fire-
lichen softens stumps
tree after tree