Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Out of the sunset light"

by Margarita Serafimova,

Out of the sunset light,
a brown flame arose.
A falcon placed herself above her hunger.

Fragile Thing

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Before daylight
lone black crow lands on swaying tree tops
high above rushing waters of the creek
crow’s voice hollers out
sharp staccato jabs, high-pitched notes
mingled with swift moving water

Canadian geese
build nests on flat rocks
beside a torrent of white-water
near Rhododendron bushes
super stars, each of them
magnificent blooming wall of flowers
before dawn this morning

Life happens slowly
like growth of lavender-pink
Rhododendron blossoms
smallest details
hundreds of them
wide open
everything in sync
a fragile thing.

Silhouettes

by Stefanie Bennett

The periwinkle pulls her head in
at twice the speed
of sound

Heron Mathematica

by Michael Medler

If you've strayed
too close to the coterminous
of rock, of river, a chaos
of green water may pull
you in. You may crack
the ragged plane of air.

The heron will loop
down, though, a cosine
arc drawn on a silver
of sky. He will
save you; the parallels
of his slender legs
withstand the flood.

Step back and stop.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sand Dunes
--from “The Snow Man," Wallace Stevens

by Emily Strauss

One should have the mind of water
to understand the Bitter River (Amargosa)
as it sinks into the wash and reappears
eleven miles downstream under willows

half hidden from the sun, avoiding sand dunes
and tracks of vehicles that climb like lizards.
The mind of water feels the heat of evaporating
pools, a constriction of mud, a thickening

into dirt as the river digs through hidden
channels underground, seeping, dripping
in cracks, lightless cavities it has forged
where we see only dry beds carved against

sandstone during rare summer floods. Then it
tires of hiding and pours for ten minutes, the mind
of water a living memory of rushing angst
in its haste to prove that bitter was only a lack

of momentum and rain is the shimmering soul
of water revealed once a year under black clouds.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Sakura

by Deanie Roman

Cherry blossoms fall from the trees.
Petals, confetti-like flutter on the breeze.
Faded pink, edged with brown; wind-scattered across the ground.
Ribbons of blossoms dress the street; transforms the gutter at my feet.

Slide Effects
The Blue Mountains, NSW Australia

by Stefanie Bennett

I hang my hat where
the oxygen’s lean
and cows
come home
in single file...
where nothing’s out
to prove a thing
but the believing
that’s behind
the green gate.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Japanese Crow

by Deanie Roman

Crow looms on a wire,
watches, waits,
and menaces
passers-by;
his caw strident.

Osprey Fishing

by Wesley D. Sims

An osprey soars in circles migrating
up the cove, bright white underside
gleaming in the sun. It spies movement,
begins descending in a cone spiraling down
twenty yards until it clarifies the target,
draws in brown-barred wings and plunges
head down, accelerating as it dives.
Hits the water head first cratering plumes
outward, quickly pumps its wet wings
against the water to lift off straight up,
grasping a bass in its talons. It rises
fifty feet aiming toward the tree line.
Its reward wriggles, struggles to escape
the sharp claws as the osprey continues
its ascent and lights a high sycamore limb,
pinning its prey while it begins to dissect
the fresh meal with its curved eagle beak.

blue river

by Michael Estabrook

The golden eagle swoops down,
the sun blazing off its wings,
lands beside
the blue river, and watches me
with one black immobile eye
as I stand alone
on the bank and fish.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Lines

by Deborah P Kolodji

stagnant pond
the back and forth
of a cabbage white

Roots That Bind

by Gary Beck

Barely planted deep enough,
the aged sycamore trees
of Bryant Park
shed their leaves,
compelled by winter
to stand bare limbed.
They are not embarrassed
by nudity,
neither hoping nor despairing
for new leaves in Spring.

Tombstone

by Denny E. Marshall

Aliens mark grave
On earths unmarked tombstone
Died of consumption

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Untitled

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

it’s so stifling hot here
in this fashionable extermination dome
we’ve so neatly constructed
New England’s spring wild flowers 
are blooming 3 weeks earlier

but the cross-pollinators
those visionary bees birds insects
and butterflies et al
have not arrived yet
to seed
each vivid pistil
with another generation’s
stamen lush clarity

maybe if we try feeling as deeply as they
before they’re greenhouse gassed
like Jews
in a Nazis death camp

we won’t lose them

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Cranium is Crammed

by Randall Rogers

Full of
nonsense lies
wit that spies
subterfuge
in guise
of truth.

That lays
bare remorse
upon redress
old wounds
sharp healing
knowing
no quarter
no loss
unfounded
non-grounded
none-the-less
cocksure
farm working
the Earth.

Persevering
naturally
pesticide-free
low-input
no till
soil microbe
menagerie
'til the end.

Lunar eclipse, Adelaide 2001

by EJ Shu

beckon the penumbra
keel with a practised lean
into the graving dock

imitate delay

hang the tidal thesis
on the lowlight blocks
between spring and neap

flush iodine to redden the reaped fields
sing the willie wagtail
into the rare hot night

      that ever-weathering silks the fine fraction
      that ions drape the old surface
      that dark mantling stains
      the face of the regolith
      like dogs’ tears

Standing in the Woods Full of Winter

by M.J. Iuppa

Hard to forget the past when you
find yourself standing in a clearing
cribbed by black walnut trees
and fresh snow.

Cold air wakes trivial matters
lodged in your mind.

How strange— the sift of snow
caught between bars of light
ignites what you were so eager
to keep to yourself—

the unspooling of horses
galloping across an open pasture . . .

Gone, again.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Crow and Goose

by Linda Gamble

Sentinel crow, caws
into the March air
from atop a towering
naked oak.

Winter - spring sun
reflects its promise
off the lake below,
a lone goose paddles
against the wind through
shimmering ripples.

Crow caws
            goose honks
crow caws
            goose honks
crow caws
            goose honks

Double Suns

by Heather Saunders Estes

Another smoke-filled sunrise,
the ball, fuchsia red.
Below, a trick reflection in the Bay,

another sun,
squat like a lump of red bean paste
but hot-eyed and wavering.

New Hampshire Morning

by John Grey

Black bear snug in tree fork,
morning sun gilds its fur tips,
turns a fluttering nose to amber.
Crows line the upper oak branch.
Blue jays spread the word -
corvids present - such as they are themselves
chickadee awareness descends in notes.
A solitary cooper's hawk
scours the waking trails for meadow mice.
A groundhog stands on granite soap box.
His mate nibbles the grass nearby.
A rabbit, the whole world to fear,
skitters into nearby brush.
It's spring. Rivers bulge with snowmelt.
Current flings fish into the air.
A great blue heron stalks
the outskirts of a beaver pond.
A chipmunk squeaks, red squirrel chatters.
Maple, poplar, blush with new green.
A vulture keeps a quiet watch for death.
Wart-headed turkeys sway their chest beards.
Nature, unattended, embraces dawn.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lines

by Denny E. Marshall

streams and rivers black
forest dark barren wasteland
dressed for funeral

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

orange hollyhocks
        drooping
     towards sundown

Friday Morning
—for Ryllis of St. Kitts

by Michael H. Brownstein

Come. Today, clear fishing and day bright,
morning sun  strong breath and fresh light.
My friend, here's a paw paw and water nut for you.
Morning comes in crowing. Milky milky. Love vine. Bamboo.
Everything a ripe breadfruit and sugar cane together,
lime, palm leaf, a shadow of heather.
Silence in the ocean with large birds of prey,
one by one the lamps tickle out across the bay.
Now is the time, my love, time for waking,
time for praying, time for telling, time for baking.
Come. Today, a clear start and day bright,
early o’clock, strong breath and fresh light.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Drought

by Carl Mayfield

Brittle locust leaves
bitten by frost, taking on
uneven shades of gray, rust,
black and brown, assembling
where the wind lays down,
the smallest breeze bringing
the voice of decay to life.

Road To Thimpu

by Jagari Mukherjee

Cherry trees on the road
To Thimpu
In Himalaya spring
Lose count of the syllables
In uphill rocks
Under the moon
Colored scotch.

Fanfare and Ballyhoo

by Lynda Lambert

final snowfall
advises slow-moving changes
floating, spiralling, dancing
whispering progression
hardy wet quiescent branches
undressed false acacia
fast-growing tree
black locust takes
a long nap
in rural woodlands
anticipating sunshine
after final snowfall
soft warm rain, new growth
fragrant clusters swagger
spring blossoms flourish
white, pink or purple attire
welcome the new season of
fanfare and ballyhoo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Watching the Skies

by Juliet Wilson

Every summer
swifts
silhouette the sky

swoop-soaring
dance-diving

but now
the sky is emptying.

I'm getting older.
Maybe it's just my eyes.

That's right.

It must be
just my eyes.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Nevada Mind

by Karla Linn Merrifield

I flick sere judgment on horned lizard tongue
wildness uncoils across great white basins.

I rattle a snake’s great desert tail
in the great ranges of sagebrush lines.

I, reptile, speak, coil the wild greatly.

Lines

by Lynda Lambert

crisp light at high noon
motionless blue spruce branches
soundless feathered wings

Drought Wren

by David Chorlton

In the stopped breath after rain
a mountain pushes back
against the clouds
and a Red-tailed hawk is hanging
from the lowest one.
Among the clusters rooted in a wash
a gnatcatcher’s call
is an itch in the air, while the gloss
covering the ground
soaks slowly back
into a darkness shared
with all that lives beneath
the surface. Here, now, on this
last slope before the next
dry weeks, a Cactus wren
displays himself in light
that sprays from his feathers
as he fluffs them dry.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Traffic

by Juliet Wilson

The sky is pink with sunrise.

Headlights glare from cars
nose to tail in an endless traffic jam
known as the morning 'rush' hour.

On the Lagoons, oystercatchers gather,
pressed long red beak to white and black tail
calling and jumping then take off in a rush.

The sky is still pink with sunrise.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Monet Paints the Blues

by Ben Rasnic

Smears of cloud
Blot the birdless
Canvas, splotches

Of cerulean, azure
Hover the suffering earth
& its indelible scars;

An old man
Crowned in a white
Straw hat
Barely discernible

In the high grass
Among the poplars.

Shallow Roots

by Lisa M. Hase-Jackson

An Eastern Fox Squirrel
comes to visit the rogue sunflower
that popped up beneath the bird
feeder in my mother’s back yard,
picking out seeds to cache in his
cheeks, chattering at neighborhood
cats and black birds perching
in uncomfortable proximity.

They swoop down from the sky,
those birds, stirring up the Missouri
sky into a roiling summer storm,
their zephyr wings a vortex
of torrents and fulminations.

Florid Taos Haibun

by Karla Linn Merrifield

The hollyhocks are exuberant in their heliotropism
in Taos this June morning. Face on, eyeing in sun-warmed return,
the flagrant Bent St. botanicals— those papery blushing hussies,
those native Alcea setosa species in a chorus line of desire—
before my June yes; Mio sol turns morning a flower warmer.

Thunderclouds promise storm;
shadow disappears— I bloom
desert in pink.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Blackwater Giants

by Suzanne Cottrell

Southern Bald Cypress, Redwood and Sequoia cousins
Towering 100 feet above black water swamp
Submerged roots outstretched, anchors secured
Bulbous trunks, buttressed for stability

Tree tops battered, flattened by Atlantic storms
Slow growth survivors draped in Spanish moss
Eastern mud turtles sunbathe on
Protruding gnarly knees

Warblers, wrens perched, hidden by
Vibrant cinnamon, bittersweet hued
Fronds of needle-like leaves
Shed in early autumn, deciduous conifers

Bared gray to rufous, ridged bark
Natural oils, repelled insects and decay                 
Hardy wood for Native American dugout canoes
Colonial planks, fences, furniture, shingles

Overharvested, few old growth stands remain
Sentinels along the Black Water River

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Southwest Pointillism

by Karla Linn Merrifield

This is the thorny issue. Pointed.
Everything is not a question, rude, cactus-pointy.
Destiny appears to keep our appointment
in New Mexico on U.S. Rt. 412 East at the Point
of Rocks’ turn-off, NMDOT sign pointing
north. This is the proper junction, pointless
to ignore at the noon-hour appointed
to sandstone, juniper, sage, pointedly
painted to reveal landscape’s point
of view, imprint of spirit, fossilized pinpoint

of relief.

decades of bitter winds

by Lynda Lambert

decades of bitter winds
whipped and thrashed
flagellated and whisked
the row of red barberry bushes
grasping thorny spines
blown towards the west
search the twilight for
last rays of winter light
dangling crimson berries quiver
thin branches poke out upwards
from buried roots
anchored deeply in cold-hardened soil
saturated with ruddy
frost-ravished leaves.

Springtime

by Holly Day                             
     
the river cracks awake in the middle of the night, sounds like something
falling inside the house, sounds like the dog/kid broke something. I get up
so that my husband doesn’t have to, stomp out into the living room
bathed in bright moonlight, see
the dog curled up by the front door, oblivious to whatever woke us up.

From the living room, I can hear more ice breaking off, feel the river waking up
pushing trapped branches and dead deer off to the side banks, determined
to become an unhindered body once more. From the bedroom, my husband asks
What’s going on, I don’t know where to start.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Lines

by Jason Lee

Gray Jays chirp
Balance on top of a swaying juniper
Snow on needle-like leaves

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Late Autumn

by Pepper Trail

The junipers stand like guttering green candles
among the half-naked, browning oaks
and from their tops, the solitaires call
back and forth across the valley
their calls the rusty, reluctant sound
of the old year turning toward winter

Lines

by Robert Beveridge

a drop of rain
strikes a burning rose
petals wither

Running Low

by Jacob Chung

I ventured
through the mountains
with my friends
for the entire week

I brought the car
back to the house
running on
fumes

I sincerely apologize
ocean blue skies
fresh spring air and lush greenery
were so beautiful

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Evidence

by Jon Corle

All winter
they’ve been havin’ a party
under the driveway ice

a candy wrapper
gum
gold bottle cap

look away it’s razzmatazz
stare and it’s a still life
catch catch ‘em

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Chalk

by Jeff Burt

One fragile egret
a low, slow acetylene trace
against the blackboard of twilight

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Four Images

by Pepper Trail

On the banks of the Saigon River, a Buddhist ceremony, the red-clad priest tipping fish from bright blue bins into the water, the worshippers bowing.  Downstream, fishermen stub out cigarettes, walk to their boats.

Above the valley full of smoke, the meadow is done with summer, taking on texture of thick brocade, yellow, orange, and brown. An unseen solitaire gives his single call, again and again. A vulture crosses the blue sky, heading to California.

On the walls of the Iceland church, a gaunt old man, a puffin-catcher, raises his net toward half-painted birds.  Below the cliffs outside, a boatload of visitors, all in orange, raise binoculars, gaze up at the puffins looking down.

The ship slides off a wave, strikes hard, shudders and booms.  I wipe spray from my face, set my feet for the next rise and fall.  Above, aloft, the albatross, white, trims his wings, turns toward Antarctica, and is gone.

Wintry Treats

by Suzanne Cottrell

Morning flit, flutter
Frenzy at bird feeder
Chickadee alights on limb
Waiting its turn
Loose seeds sprinkle
Powdery snow below                       
Sparrows hop and peck
Exposing stirred up dirt
Doves sip through crack in ice                   
Thrushes feast on clusters                   
Of violet Beautyberries
Persistent gray squirrel
Excavates black walnut
Clasps hidden treasure
Gnaws and chews

Great Gray Cloud

by Joe Cottonwood

A great gray cloud from the coconut islands
floats across the Pacific
with a stop at Hawaii (who wouldn’t?)
and then more days sailing over waves, over whales
past the winking lighthouse on Pigeon Point
to snag and stay upon the Santa Cruz Ridge,
my thirsty mountain home.

The great gray cloud washes leaves from maples
coating my street with a yellow sheet.
The great gray cloud blows branches from oaks
dropping firewood for my heat.
The great gray cloud knocks buckeyes
bouncing like baseballs for squirrels.
The great gray cloud hoses ditches
rushing at roadside in eddies and swirls.

The great gray cloud
fills the mucky pond
to a pristine pool
where ducks are dancing,
where geese are goosing,
where egret spears the fresh water,
where turtles do bellyflops
and bullfrogs on the banks
croak a thunder of
Thank you, cloud, thanks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wild Goose Trail

by Jeff Burt

Burdock, buckthorn, white cormus,
rosehips, vaccinium, red edible currants,
white elderberry, arronia, chokeberries,
such abundant berries
reaching over and into the trail
begging to be brushed and knocked
to the earth to begin transformation
or picked and eaten to fall in scat
aided by bugs and erosion to plant
in the soft dark earth and yield.
We must not pull our coats
from their branch, avoid,
must wade deeply, rustle, touch.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Arnarstapi

by Jamie O’Connell

shipwrecked
shoreline

/ waves blued
by fire /

black pebble sun
splits sea /

/ how sun
feeds sea /

bones, flesh

Everything Turns Away

by M.J. Iuppa

How seemingly steady— this
sift of snow gracing rows up-

on rows of apple trees holding
their pointe, like Degas’s tiny

dancers suffering the cold
introspective moment

as if it were crucial
to solving life’s little

ambiguities— argot of wind
or flight of stairs— both

leading to disaster . . .

Slender arms flung
high in the air.

The Annals of Pine

by Taylor Graham

Atop a tall pine, in sagacious gray robes
the bird presides, ringing out his name
to all the surrounding peaks: Clark’s
Nutcracker, extricating nut after nut
from a pine cone. How else might they be
freed to sprout, to ensure the species
survives? The bird is hungry. Thus
continues a script of ages, letter by letter
on the fragile paper of generations.
Far below, a deer mouse searches fallen
nuts to stuff her cheeks, writing her own
history in the annals of pine.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

While Walking, Edge of Town

by Joe Cottonwood

Flash of lightning
with paws

Puma!
furry limber legs
of muscle —
scrambling up a roadcut

Gone — an instant
vanished

A weed trembles

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Lines

by Robin Smith

red chokeberry bush--
the titmouse and
the blue jay take turns

Top of the Mountain

by Melissa Kelly

Snow covered mountain top
The blue and greys mixing
Blended into the white top
Tip touches the cloud masses
Thin the air, cold as ice
Making its way down
To the green valleys below

World Outside Our Fences

by Taylor Graham

Last night a light rain washed with wood-
smoke-fog took the pasture. Silence.
Then frantic barking above highway fence.
So much moving dark. Drifting wisps
of smoke-fog. My flashlight caught him:
stag-stance perfect posture, young buck
at bay, antlers fuzzed in flash-light fog.
Deer parrying dog who doesn’t know
the game. A rush-thrust-darting muffled
by fog and pricked by rain. At last
my dog comes to call, leads the way back
home – that small part of the unknown
world we fenced to call our own.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

They Took Our Birch Trees

by Erin Geil

It seemed that overnight
Those tall skinny lives
Had left us to our own
Devices, but the reality
Is that they died long ago
Some sort of rot.
A painting now hangs on
The roper's wall
Of overpopulated birches
with hidden faces that
you're meant to find.
But all I see are kidnap victims
And empty spots of ground.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Industry

by Connye Griffin

Drum clock out as morning warms,
Hammers stowed ‘til dusk, but
One missed the memo. He labors on
Driven to erase all algae,
His mouth like a hammer’s claw
Scraping underwater metal and plastic
Fat otters drop off the shore
Spectacular Spoonbills reach for the light
A heron resents their graceless antics
And says so, disgruntled--squawking
Alien noise in a bird statuesque, poised
A modern pterodactyl’s call
How long they’ve been on the job, laboring
A man’s phlemgy cough breaks their rhythm
Reverberates across the cove. They pause
For some slice of a second but
Theirs are lives rarely rising to double digits
Their biology sets its clock and runs down
So they resume their work, the business of living,
Full in the knowledge life is brief and sweet as
A hummingbird rises from below, ascending
To the call of nectar, necessary for its
Advance at the speed of dart, dance, delight
Smaller birds tweet, gossip, and whistle
Against the dove’s melancholy mourning
The sun breaks open a low lying haze
Waking a hen that complains about the early hour
Taking wing, she barely rises above the surface
Her morning calisthenics--an explosion of industry.

The Great Missouri

by Michael H. Brownstein

Clouds mark tracks across an arm of sky;
Blue water pools near the banks,
Grey-green storms of current stretch
Across mudflats, erosion, a stretch of skin.
Near the Mississippi, both clouds and river
Change lanes, dwell into wind and storm,
Stretch the great strengths within
And let out wind and rain, guts and flood.

The Tunguska Non-event

by Todd Mercer

When on fire
the present’s paramount.
There may have been
a meteor to blame, a comet
crashed into the far taiga,
or an errant transatlantic
burst of current
from Nikola Tesla’s lab.
It wasn’t on my mind
the moment
I exploded into flames.
I mouthed a shorthand
stripped-down prayer,
uninformed of the square miles
of matchstick evergreens flattened,
croaked it out
without a thought to
creator or crater-maker:
“Water!” I cried
in my native language,
“Water!” again,
as if anyone could hear.
I wasn’t slightly curious.
about the comet,
gas plume, God’s hand,
the stray wireless transmission,
antimatter, whatever the cause.
Combustion
is strictly present tense.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

She Who Watches
petroglyph in the Columbia River Gorge

by Margaret Chula

Begin by thinking like a snake.  Seek out shafts
of sunlight on rock face, boulder, meadow grass.

Slither through knot of thorns, past sage
with its purple haze of healing and hallucinogen.

Rout through rubble, along the path of spirit quest.
Huddle beneath basalt, sanctuary of animal dreams.

Observe lizard tracks embedded on rock—
spirit visions of antelope scorpion, and salmon.

Trace your fingers along scars of petroglyphs,
volcanic rock now settled, receptive to chisel

and the hands of seekers who leaned into cliff face
to carve out the image of their dream spirit.

Pay attention to bird calls that lead to She Who Watches,
Tsagaglalal who gazes at the mighty river, her eternal vigil.

Coil inside the spirals of her all-knowing eyes—
listen to the pulse of the river’s song.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Smog

by Michael H. Brownstein

This morning
we woke to orange smog streetlamps,
in the pale blue skin of sky,
a shape of white washed shadow:
breathing became hostile
and then  something fell
acid within white
chemically deranged
black blood, broken blossom.

Either/Or

by Anita Sullivan

Frog! No!
Two assumptions in a
split skirmish.

Second stomps out first
like a fire
although they emerge
as one.

Dried oak leaf on the path
exact size,
curled, supple, back-sloped, diffident,
poised
as a Pacific Chorus Frog (wrong color)
but
not imagined
not disguised.

Yesterday, tomorrow
might have been
Frog? No!

But today equal,
no tilt.

Could blame the adolescent light
banging around among
the lichen, now exposed
in the winter oaks. Or

deep and chronic
frog-hunger
aroused under the heart-rock
keeping the balance right.

Ruffed Grouse

by David Chorlton

Because it lives so far
away from you and you’re unlikely
ever to see one, you won’t miss
the Ruffed grouse if it
should continue to decline in number
and eventually become extinct. You’re not
travelling to Canada just
to see the textured plumage
or the way the ruff expands in spring,
not even to explore the forest
where it lives and listen
when the wings produce a drumming
sound. The timbre
of its voice from among the trees
wouldn’t mean much to you
anyway, and even though
you know the temperatures
are rising all around you it doesn’t
occur that a bird could be calling
soon for the very last
time as if goodbye
were not a word but a high pitched call.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bison in Winter

by Sarah Henry

Bison thrive in winter,
with strong humps
and dense coats
like walls of fur.

A bison plows
snow seriously.
His head’s a plow,
always pushing.

He plows to eat.
A bison eats grass
mixed with snow
in the winter months
                               
His head dips
and he snorts.
Steam rushes
through windless air.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

no sound
       from the juniper
     as the crow lands

The Shoal

by Edward Ahern

The shoal sour dries in wind drifts
as the leavings of the ebb come into view.
Shell piles here, sand there, rimmed by
barnacle rocks and wet-rotting weed.

Gulls and terns pick at scattered
remnants of crab and fish,
and lift dying clams high enough
to drop them onto the rocks.

The water almost, almost stops,
a hovering quiver in the shoal’s edges,
before the surge rewets the gasping buried
on its slithering way across the crest.

Men who ignore this ever-change
are trapped by it.
One or two boats a year aground,
one or two men a decade drowned.

Feeding and dying quicken with the flow,
little fish pushed across the shoal
toward waiting jaws,
birds swooping for the crippled.

Force of water rules the shoal,
which heaves its crests and shallows
to appease the ever-flowing god
who never looks back.

The water climbs man-high above the shoal,
And, stirred only by wind
fondles fish and weed and shell
until ebbing implacably into turmoil.

Canyon Music

by David Chorlton

From Spinebill, Stonechat and Sapphire
to the Leafbird, Lory and Linnet
birds are named where language
turns to music. Say Firecrest,
Jacamar, Kestrel and Kite
and we speak in the key of each call.
There’s a list that runs from the tongue:
Pelican, Mousebird and Motmot; Ostrich,
Merganser, Loon, and the letters
sing themselves together
never out of tune,
                            until a tree falls
followed by another, then a river
is smuggled from its bed
without water to replace it
and the world is quieter one day
than the day before
when we come to listen
and the Hermit thrush seems far
away with centuries of song
inside a few repeating notes
in a canyon’s shadow play
of sound.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Politics of Watermelon

by Marissa Glover

Wait for the season
to plant—warm soil; water well.
The vine will take root.

Harvest carefully:
Yellow-brown, half-dead tendrils
means ripe for picking.

Hear a hollow thump?
Has the white belly yellowed?
With a sharp knife, cut.

Spoon out the black seeds—
fill the newspaper with them;
consider the pith.

Feast until you reach
the bitter rind; spit it out.
Use what’s left for mulch.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The way back

by Samara Golabuk

Tannin stains the riverbed
with the waters' carmine flow.
Strings of weeds—
undine's pleistocene strands—
point the way forward
toward bends and narrows,
and later, toward a dock
with orange buoy floats
that mark off the danger.

Soon,
there is a darkening, a bonfire,
then a casserole, and
for the morning,
coffee from the bean.
The bellow and rattle of the kettle
will wake us. The river, in our muscles now,
follows the long road to memory,
jeweled and dark.

Unfettered

by Carl Mayfield

White-
crowned
sparrows
at first light
pick up
their shadows
and go

The Morning after the Fire

by  Jude Cowan Montague

Two huge hares
leap like glory through the tufts.
They go left, they go right,
in search of food.
The light is quiet and golden.
One reaches the fence and waits.
The other goes past, far and fast.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Prague Sonata

by Terrence Sykes

turmeric & ginger
copper early dusk
along the Vltava

faded rose moon
reluctantly tendrils across
ashened stars

autumn cicada
murmur & chant
cluttered linden grove

ancient medlar
merely staging
poetic lament

amongst  branches
longing  nightingale
I remember sky

Sunday, January 7, 2018

we do not touch our living
half so well as elephants touch their dead

by Samara Golabuk

What staticky mud is skin. Be thou not a
germophobe, worlds are we. Biomes.

The grandmothers know, we are
moths pinned by their knowing —

eyes, lancets to the soul. Matr-
ix of flesh most modern still

goes dark with the clay, ochre
smear, the blood a marker.

A dowsing rod nicks water’s veins,
pricks tongues turned to their magic,

shapes runes in the dusky dark
of our mouths as clavichord keys bite

the winds in half, knot its spillways,
turn them toward the caverns of our hearts,

(that corded beast, Hephaestus forge),
thumb-dump, thumb-dump, some

dumb thing stunts the pumps but
there’s no water here in heaven,

we are born in the milky gray
middleway between morning and stillness,

little puddles, withered udders,
we drink and are animals together.

Squirrel

by Paul Waring

September sparks the rush:
razor-eyed sprees to stock
and store as autumn opens
for business.

Summer retires, goodbyeless,
before want-away geese
flee in formation
on damp-smoked air.

Squirrel, grounded, scoops
first falls after fuss of wind
and mob-handed rains
fleece crowds of trees.

Memory-mapped burials
in musty larders; a network
of near and far relays, stop-
start dashes that risk life

on roads as cold-stiffened
days shrink into dark; call
you back to winter’s grip
as land and lake shiver

beneath glass-sharp sheets.
Now there’s nothing to see,
do or lose sleep over. Sit tight:
save your breath.

Perennial Petunias Weeping on a Lonely Store Corner

by Adam Levon Brown

Sugar-shocked Preamble for decadence is swung
triangularly south for the Winter greed

Ducks flock eastward, bounding telephone
wires flying towards motorway heaven

The ducks fly to the north, delving deeper into denial,
reaching for a place where hunters of vengeance cannot shoot

Premonitions of a lonely world lead one to consider a darkened
alley where light never graces soulless sidewalks of smog

Moments of clarity bring unhinged pearl avenues of death
to a roaring end, meeting mule-tide occasions of froth

Perennial seasons of corruption end in tides of gray
nuanced jubilation for the eves of convoluted joy

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sanderling

by Lindy Le Coq

hyper-action birds
dance with waves at oceans edge
gleaning intently

cha-cha out with tide
about-face and quick-step in
tiny feet churning

peck in sand then up
to survey - pirouette - preen
tuck beak under wing