Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Prairies

by Philip C.  Kolin

A prairie is flat,
honest

free and open

not hampered
by planting rituals

or fenced in
like a garden's roses.

A prairie celebrates the wind
frolicking with wild rye and clover;

its butterfly flowers follow  the sun
and its  buffalo grass roams at will;

prairie bluestem everywhere
mirrors the cloudless sky.

Imperious sparrows and larks
cannot control

what a prairie harvests
or seed it with weeds.

A prairie grows
from the inside

out. No prickly pines
or glossy holly can root here.

A prairie courts posies
with black eyes

and blue bonnets.
A prairie sings:

Let all the world be lupine.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Lines

by Laughing Waters

all birch leaves
pointing downstream
the school of fish

Untitled

by Aneliya Avtandilova

All wrinkled and creased,
Exposing the imprints
Of someone's gargantuan limbs -
The bed of Cascadia.

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

eleven mourning doves
                   milling about
             autumn 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Safari

by Julianne Basile

To discover how one
Can fit a safari
In an amusement park,
Board the truck.

The spirits left
A tweed elephant
On her seat
When she got up.

It was bejeweled and the color of dusk.

What is one thing she learned about the safari?

It's smaller than Africa.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

red-tailed hawk
     circling overhead--
the songbirds shut up

Egret

by Paul Waring

Embedded in silence—
a statue, study in patience
you stand, lost to time

watch and wait
s-neck still life
wings locked down
in wild Lanzarotean wind

for what seems hours
you paint brilliant white form
pure as truth
against black volcanic rock

forensic eye
sharpened telescopic stare
down yellow beak
poised to pounce beneath

ice-blue Atlantic sheet
killer spear inclined
to missile prey
with minimum fuss

and rise back to life
in rapid flap
of broadsheet sails.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Change Of Color

by Denny E. Marshall

River flows downstream
In a different color
Past lost forever

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Couplets

by Pepper Trail

Start with water or stone?  Stone.
No, water.  No, stone – stone.

So, a volcano – a lava flow?
Yes, then water.  Because otherwise – the moon.

Infiltrating every fault, eroding.  Yes,
freezing, thawing, cracking.  Habitat!

Now, lichens.  Eventually, a little soil.
Moss, succulents.  Flowers!

So, bees.  Lizards, mice finding shelter.
Then, snakes, owls.  Someday, forest.

It’s good, every kind of thing.
Every kind of thing – it’s good.

Landlocked

by Teuta Skenderi

It smells like my land,
like the soft soil in my mother’s garden
like a fistful of cold earth resting on my father’s chest.
It smells like seeds sprouting
and roses dripping dewdrops at dawn.

It smells like a hand-woven blanket
covering a stranger at night.

It smells like an untrodden forest and home-made wine,
like a coin rusting inside a wishing well.

It smells like wide open windows and doors,
a quince drying on the window sill waiting to be gifted.

It smells like a toothless kiss on a child’s forehead on his way to school.
It smells like a migrating bird’s feather free-falling.

It smells like my homeland in early autumn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Sacred

by Khalilah Okeke

The paperbark tree swoons
into the scribbly gum.
They are lovers dancing in
morning’s still music.

Branches entwine—
arms reaching for lifetimes.

Rosellas flame
through a peacock feather sky-

swift sweeps of sunrise.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Snowy Owl New Jersey

by Elizabeth Fletcher

Silent arctic nomad
Snow feathered
Blizzard white
Gliding south on the Atlantic flyway
Drifting to the coastal dunes
Commands  an osprey’s stick nest
far from sliver foxes on the tundra

Impervious to the click and whir
of the dumbstruck
Thunderbird of ancient petroglyphs
scans
New  Jersey’s tidal marsh
Buffle heads and mallards paddle
wing beats away

At twilight, the owl
ghosts
the marsh stills

Across the channel
Atlantic City’s glass towers  rise
prism-cut

The Pelican Bone

by Pepper Trail

is full of light.
The bird, of earth, feeling aloft
with fingertips knit of cottonstuff
and sinew
rises, heavy as a child
out of reach always, then
grown, gone
leaving a memory of silence.

Evening

by Michael H. Brownstein

twilight over the Missouri
the shadow of ghost trees
paper birched and shedding:

a black current near the mud
and shells of clam and oyster
silver-sprinkle deep infested earth:

the coyote comes, the otter,
a few beavers, a family of possum
a then a bobcat thirsty-strong:

night begins to shade everything with new
songs reaching into the growing
dark, the bobcat splashes water on its face

twilight thick with trees, crickets, a forest

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Grackles

by Linda Gamble

a multitude dots bare branches
their grating calls
like a thousand rusty hinges

black banner unfurls
takes flight
crosses the street
descends    shrouds
the ground two houses down

with a great beating of wings
they rise
dip    turn    land
once
and twice again
in synchronized formation

with military precision
they manuever down the road
blue jay jeers from high above

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Choreographed Buzzards

by Wesley D. Sims

Aerial acrobatic show—
wake of turkey buzzards surf
the blue ocean of wind,
black bodies glistening, their silver
wing tips splashed by sunshine.
Like practiced dancers transitioning
through routines, they cycle up the cove,
shifting, changing patterns, congregated
first in a circle, followed by momentary
square, then a trapezoid, now a Dipper
constellation, followed by a dotted spline
that torques and bends into a question
mark, as if to ask—what is this?

Training run for young buzzards?
Some vulture-peculiar ritual
practiced in mating season?
A random drifting, sniffing,
sailing excursion over the lake?
Maybe it’s just a Sunday afternoon
surfing flight, admiring the sites
and gawking at humans.

Dragonfly Days

David Chorlton

There’s a thin skin of air
lying over the pond
where dragonflies float
in September.
                       A Common Green Darner,
light as a wish,
with one wing for minutes
and one for the hours,
marks time as it crosses the water.
Summer goes slowly
                                    down to the carp;
a year drifts away
to the mountain. The heat’s lost
its edge, shadows
have teeth, while
                              two hawks in place
for the cool time of year
are quotation marks
for a silence as wide
as the sky,
                  and a vulture
hangs on a thread
down from the lingering sun.

Blackberries and Thistle

by Lorraine Carey

Random splodges of blackberries
stain the village and it's winding
pavements. The splatters
from starlings scatter wide -
the fuzzy circles, like signs.
Full bellies heavy in flight,
with pickings
from heaving brambles.

Roadside thistle of palest lavender,
forsakes its thorny bristle,
as furred heads of softest mink
hang on, until the wind shakes
and whistles through.
Autumn sneaks in, mulches leaves
and strips flower beds
with the efficacy of a thin lipped wife
and her Friday laundry.

They fly low, the murmuration,
with their mutterings
in warbles and whistles
chattering rattles and sharp trills.
Mimics and whirrs fill up
the evening sky and clouds roll
in a gambolled elegance of tumbleweed.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Opposite of Town

by Todd Mercer

As
far
from one
interstate
as you get before
drawing closer to another,
forty-eight mile stretch with one gas station. Hills have eyes
situation, where city folks flee
before sundown, scared.
Near-empty
country,
too
still.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Every Day is a Good Day
(after the calligraphy of Keido Fukushima)

by Neil Ellman

Every day is a good day
to breathe the ocean’s air
and walk along the shore
dodging waves
like sanderlings
and listening to the rush of surf
speak of the eternal
ebb and flow
that lift the heart
as hour-glass sands
sink beneath our feet.

Arizona Dust

by M.S. Camacho

I live with the dust.
The furniture has a fine coating.
My husband’s boots.
My face and chest.
Sunspots and fine hairs
on my cheeks glow.

Coming down from the buttes
on to the hummingbird’s wings.
To the bat’s dinner song, and
between the saguaro’s crevices.

What a blessing should it
rain while the sun looked on
And while the cicadas
Sang before nightfall.

Cleanse me with ozone,
creosote bushes, and full moons.
Then, anoint me again with the
Desert’s fine red powder.

Confidence Question

by John Zedolik

A hundred yards to the shore
to solid earth, deliverance
and driving off,

just a jump—come on—
bathtub deep, lemon-yellow
squeezy ducks at the bouncing bottom

if you happen to drop down
into those depths beyond the green-black
surface, but you’ll skim

this with your strong strokes on only
this greatest and most northerly lake

don’t worry about the mischief of strong current
at a constant forty degrees. The boat’s too slow,
and five p.m. is far in the future.

The plunge will take you now.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The First Rule of Substrata:
You Don’t Talk About Substrata

by Todd Mercer

There’s The Underground,
which everyone’s familiar with,
your standard shadow networks,
grey-to-black markets.
I’m talking about the underground
that people in the regular one
have only heard rumor about.
Below the sewer tunnels,
barely above
the collective unconscious,
the hydrologic caverns,
steaming mantle,
boiling molten core.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Old Stone Wall

by Anne McMaster

So much is lost.
I walk the lane this silent autumn night
up towards the old farm.
A soft mist hangs low on empty, moss-edged fields
and the patient wildflower scent is strong.
Three small girls – three ghosts –
tumble behind me as I go:
racing past me up the summer lane to find their father at the hay -
chasing a small dog, yelping, laughing,
carrying a bottle of tea and a wrapped piece for the hungry man.
Walking behind the trailer on an autumn dusk
hair prickling with flecks of straw
mouths sweet and dark with blackberries
plucked warm from an August hedge.
Then huddled, silent and golden-eyed on a dark October night
watching bonfire sparks burst up to the stars -
their peach-soft skin blushed with heat
each goose-bumped with fear of the encroaching night.

The lands and farm are gone.
Sold on, re-worked, the houses razed.
Only the old stone wall – aged older than the girls – remains.
We climbed it then
a barrier rough and tall;
a challenge to our brief-lived years.
Now, tonight, I see it as a thing of timeless beauty:
of workmanship and pride.

The three small girls tumble over it
riotous and laughing
and are gone.

Eternity Turn

by Winston Derden

Consider the cleverness of the Cooper’s hawk
who glides disguised the upslope of the roof,
crests the ridge, and dives on pigeons
perched at the feeder hanging from the eave next door:

the crash and sway, the spilling of seeds,
the prey pinned against the box,
the futile flap of wings
as talons sink in, and the predator

rises above the roofline, bundle compacted,
elevating toward hungry chicks hidden away
in a nest new-found since the city sawed down
the elm that canopied the park, a disease in its heart.

Pestilence and predation invert the arc;
the cycle turns on the wings of a hawk.

Late September

by Ben Rasnic

Earth sheds
its worn, frayed coat
of Indian Summer,

cools in the silent
avalanche
of deep, sleeping leaves. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hush

by Kimberly Behre Kenna

The secret of dawn
Tucked in the cup of the moon
Dark brew, gold nectar

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Uruguayan Autumn

by Terrence Sykes

orchards so ancient
now copse
olives & quinces
gather along  the ridge
as it slopes toward the arroyo grande
bulrushes  & cattails
merge coverage confuse
water & terra firma

ombra of figs clustered about
our little yet warm cottage
autumn rains already filled
heady aromas in the empty
mushroom baskets commingling
with the fragrance of last night’s
boiled cabbage and boar
eggs & potatoes pile
upon the overflowing table

chest of drawers laden
with forage jams
cupboards hold jars
pickled okra & green beans
harvested from the reluctant garden
rutabagas & pumpkins await in the
darkened unheated stone room
with garlic from several moons ago

all these a bit of autumn light
stored away to ward off
darkness of winter
clouds block the sky
dawn will arrive
of its own will

Intimations
Waimea Falls, Oahu

by Amy Uyematsu

something about the hush
                            beyond trees
     an afternoon
           drunk with the scent
                                    of hibiscus
        white ginger & orange

silence is this river
                snaking through the old
     canyon walls
                   water rushing
           to answer             hidden
                           bed of stones

& one more offering
                           of clouds
     as wind paints sky     each
                  different stroke     born
            from a thousand
                         nascent breezes

Too Much With Us

by Anita Sullivan

I jump into the hinge of light leaning open
against the Japanese Maple's trunk,

August grass hay-colored and inert upon the yard,
with no agenda,
reflecting nothing.

(This is where laughter resides
its mansion of fireflies).

The setting sun a serpent's tongue across the dessicated grass,
feeling for reflections, strikes
horizontal against the sunflowers in the raised bed, most of them
facing the wrong direction
for their own good reason,

reminds me of yesterday

the photos
on the wall of the eye doctor's room
the black holes in the exact center
of the rayed orange circles – how the eye resembles
(when photographed thus) – a sunflower
how the pupil, dark with seed-threads
inadequately
contracts to avoid blindness, counts on us
to always turn away.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zion

by Arinda duPont

In March, the perfume of orange blossoms fills the air.
Humming birds fly beside hibiscus flowers sipping nectar.
Spring fades to summer in an instant.
There are no clouds
Just yellow grass, Palo Verde trees and orange sunsets.
In September, the scent of rye clippings and Jasmin blooms is carried by the wind
Up mountains and down valleys.
Geese fly overhead squabbling in a big V,
“Zion, Zion, where art thou?”
In the Arizona winter.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

western kingbirds
        remembering which tree
     catches the sun first

En Plein Air

by M.J. Iuppa

1.

Overcast and steamy, the gray sky
warps beneath brushstrokes, thick
then fine, illustrating the fitful flight
of a hawk chased by a sparrow beyond
the old sugar maple casting its shadow
over a field of ripe straw— beyond
the fallen barn’s pretext.

2.

Mums the word. Who said that?
Everything in the cemetery is dead.
Someone left a fistful of mums
pressed against a granite marker.

3.

Grass turns yellow by August. Not
dead, but asleep. Maybe practically
dead, since it doesn’t grow until
it rains. It hasn’t rained in weeks.

Why the wrens are silent before Winter

by Ergene Kim

the dying bit of bluegrass
in the shallow corners of
the darkened meadow, covered
with the shadow of snow,
must have forgotten. There are
no wrens in winter.

and so the lone wind
sings again among the willows.
Whoosh, whoosh, it says, and
the sound of midnight is not lost.
Dare to sing with me, says the Wren,
and she is gone, like all the rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Encounter on Effigy Hill

by Darrell Petska

Whomever you are,
leave this sacred mound
slumbering for millennia
among switchgrass and brome.

I am Turkey Mother,
spirit guardian of those
gone to the upper world
in the great migration of the dead.

Yes, run! And should you be spared
my pounding claws and lancing beak,
know I am pledged to my people
frantically calling me back.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Horse Sees Things Differently

by Karen Poppy

Among each of these twenty
Snowy mountains, grass moves
If you look down to see it.

I look, and I nibble
As much as I can.
They want me to look up.
A blackbird shadows our sky.

I do not need to see
The blackbird to know
Its shadow.

Man fears more than he knows.
I fear some things I know,
And it’s not the blackbird.

I fear rain and wind,
But never snow, nor shadow.
I fear snapping twigs
Until they remind me to eat.

I see a maple leaf
And grow hungry for it,
Blackbird be damned.

The blackbird knows better.
It moves to a cedar tree.

The wind moves and fear runs
Through my ears and I
Mistake nothing of my fear.

A man and a woman
And a blackbird.
The taut
Telephone wires of my reins.

The river is moving.
So let me graze.
The blackbird watches overhead.

Imbros Gorge

by Joanne Veiss-Zaken

Uneven seam darts through Cretan rock
a crooked old man through eons

where donkeys once tread
paths spiral and turn
small tremors barely discernable
vibrate through the island

cicadas chant
forte then piano
entertaining those foolish enough
to walk the twisted line

wild goats watch and wonder
why we do this.

Acid Rain

by Violet Mitchell

Electricity is the cream filling of our country—
even the fish see it as art. Genocide is a strong adjective,

but there are ghosts who linger under highways, dead with
half-tweeted comments. We make crop circles out of juice

boxes, conspiracies from viewfinder scratches. Our misplaced
strands of hair became the fuses for abundant plastic lighters.

Soon we will feast on chicken pot pie, but all the birds OD’d
on hormones and now we eat the extra platypuses that wash

ashore. You & I dig our toes in glowing sand, nets in hand,
scouting for dinner and anything normal.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Skating on Thin Ice

by John Dorroh

                                   data-driven dreams of majestic
white mountains, of fur and snow and ice, jutting
thousands of meters into a frigid blue sky

                                    birthing glaciers for ruby-cheeked
tourists, too anxious for the all-you-can-eat buffet, forget
the puffins and whales who will always be on exhibit here
in this frozen wasteland

                                    our clock is speeding up, accelerating,
in fact, along a doomsday strip of thinning ice. we must kiss
this place, pull it in to our breasts, savor, leave it alone

Sunday, September 2, 2018

U-nomia

by Josephine Greenland

A biological cartographer
in a bracken of unclassifieds
I pass through nomenclature
microscope for an eye.

Here is dwarf willow,
creeping the earth carpet
catkins tilted to buttercup sun
- the Ranunculus on cumulus.

Yellow catkins and red catkins,
I signify you male and female.

I classify you: woody plant, diocious.
I baptize you: Salix Herbacea,
I sample you: Regnum Vegetabile.
I dry your leaves, for montage in glass.
I translate you.
Perhaps
I forget you.

I walk for etymology.

My undulating latin tracks
mapping stony Nordic expanse.

Here, the genus of bell heathers.
There, the acidity of wolf lichen.

A biological cartographer
in an ecology of names
trampling the bracken of unclassifieds.

The Sky Ungainly

by David Anthony Sam

Becoming one with slow wind,
the heron rises in awkward launch

to gray uncertainty of clouds,
mist wavering dawn light.

This ungainly flight wisdoms
in feathers and spindly legs,

lifting from the long patience
of stillness and waiting.

She flies hollow bones that
inward shape her rising to gray light.

A squall descends, disappearing
her feathered motion into mist.

Summer Harbor Fall Shore

by Michael Mogel

The growling morning sea invades the pier and gulps the wooden legs that sway high tide.  Here migratory fish feed among the weeds; and boys with worms and lines play tag up on the pier.  The flapping chilly bass with swelling gills are picked up by the tail – dropped in canvas sacks to die. The boys withdraw when fish dart away. Then low noon tide leaves slime on the pier where salted wooden planks sun dry until high tide.  Sun browned grass growing in the sand bends death like as if praying for a merciful intermission.  The fall invasion wastes no time.  Rocks jounce on blowzy glass; above the sea-smashed shells the seagulls hunt trapped small fish and junk from picnics left last June. A dory moored against the waves slams a quay whose old gray boards twist and creak; the bracing poles stand firm in gale.  Boat shaped clouds drift by as salted wind blows down and down the wet weed shore and smooths the glass that's made from sand, sandblasts the junk, and turns the shells to dust.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Morning Light

by Ed Jones

Once, I said Pine has fingers but I was wrong.
Each arm has one hundred green fans performing
Japanese rituals.  Everything effortlessly coordinated
By Wind.  The great arms of the pine bow and beckon,
And the fans attend every movement, solicitous as
Geisha without the encumbrance of arousal.

Now this morning light is so pure
Nothing gets in the way of gray shingles,
Jade trim, cornice and shadow, the curl of
Sycamore leaves hanging thick as dried figs
In a skittering of branches.  Even the dog’s bark
Is transparent in this early light:  good morning.

Wind commands pine fans to tickle air
With their fingers!  Look, there, I was not wrong.
Such is the power of the grand choreographer today,
Transforming fans to fingers and back again.

And light still falls evenly on everything
Even as shadows climb down the roof, two leaves
Twitch in the wind, and the fans either spread
Or do not spread their fingers attending to the world.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

When I decide I've had enough

by Laila Maged

You ruin my fertile land
You smoke away my sky
You gaze at me with greed-filled, ungrateful eyes
You named me a possession,
Planted your flags on my once-peaceful ground
Then killed one another over it
and searched for redemption never to be found.
I warned you once
Then warned you once again
I’ve stricken back many times
But you’ve proven you do not understand
In the end, it is still I who shelters you;
It is I who keeps you alive
I urge you to throw your trash in my lakes;
I urge you to smoke your issues away
I urge you to waste my pure water with your filthy bathes,
And give birth to an amount of offspring I cannot sustain,
while never giving thought to that fateful day,
when I finally decide that I've had enough.

Cuckoo

by Neil Brosnan

I blame the parents more than the youngsters
Those most deceitful of our refugees.
Planners and plotters, ingrained imposters,
Covertly winging from far overseas.

‘Shush,’ snaps the dunnock from under the sedge,
The marsh warbler’s song cut short in his throat
Mute pipits cringe at the still meadow’s edge
High up above them resounds the next note.

Tunefully perfect, evolved to enthral
Proclaiming his realm; his objectives clear
Shamelessly calling from dawn to nightfall
Stark confirmation that summer is here.

Have we ever heard this cuckoo before?
Will he return here - once, twice, or no more? 

The Man Who Spoke To Catkins

by Josephine Greenland

Etymology is written in the pistil. I trace it in the catkin; that little cat’s tail pinched between my fingers. Read it, through the microscope; hold it there, up to the stem, yellow hairs pressing against the glass. See the words now, all lower case, nestled under the flower cluster. Gynoecium, single carpel, raising its filaments to cover itself. The pistil is a shy little thing; look how it bends its head, tucking its chin in for modesty. Bend down, put the glass aside and use your ears as microscopes. The camp grows thick with whispers, of convergent evolution and ancestral inflorescence: the systems of nature through the kingdoms of nature, according to the species, the synonyms, the places. Dig down, root your fingers, absorb the words into your skin for safekeeping, they must be intact when you write them down. When plants speak, the biologist is the student; he must learn patience to capture their words.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cousins

by Ed Jones

My inebriate cousins the mosquitos
Have whined and probed and sucked
All night long, leaving us swatting
At them even in our dreams and now
Fleeing before the sun they return
Besotted with blood, slippery
With intercourse, desiring only
Some tireful of musty rain water
To lay themselves down,
A scene burgeoning with vast sexual
Activity, a flotilla of filmy eggs.
And already they are asleep, no
Hangover, simply content in an
Exhaustion soon perfected in death
Which means nothing to them.
In three days their myriad corpses
Return as home:  bacterial nest,
Swamp grass, algal bloom.  We hate
Such thoughtless prolixity, don't we,
We Mayflower descendants, disturbed
By all that blindly plunges or
Prefers night to day or remorselessly
Dreamlessly does what it wants,
What it needs, what it must.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Barnegat Bay, After the Storm

by Elizabeth Higgins

Dune grass casts shadows
on the rain-stung sand.
The gulls glide silent
on the bloated sea,
storm-swollen, crashing
blindly into moss-caked rock.
Beach roses drink
the salt-spray, shiver
in the empty sky, sing
magenta through the endless
gray. The egret watches
from the sawtooth pier, unfurls
his white neck. A purple vein
of lightning carves
the fog. He lifts his wings
over wave crests, swallowed
by the white mist.
He arcs back once,
then disappears.

Portrait of Birch and Fir

by Floyd Cheung

white claws pierce green torso

paper thin branches
stretched through its neighbor
by inches over many seasons

Ice Fishing on Lake George

by Mathew Weitman

All at once, the fish erupts
from the augur’s hole
& lies panting, and kicking
as it reddens the snow;
nearby, a group of gulls
watches with open mouths.
This is not the reason
that seagulls believe in the paranormal:
an uncanny ability that a fish has
to bring itself back from death
by flapping. It is however,
the reason that seagulls fly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lake Mono Walk

by E. Margareta Griffith

puffy gray boulders, all air and ashes
charcoal-black small stones, gleaming in the sun
spilled down the mountain like costume jewelry
souvenirs of volcanic bonfire

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ivy

by Shannon Donaghy

Ivy creeps up the side
Of the red brick chimney
And coils around string lights
Left over from Christmas time

The vines have pushed through
The wire loops of the reindeer’s eyes
He sports a Persian green disguise
Over the stark-white of his wire bones
His proud antlers – the only bit of him that shows

If I plugged him in
The leaves would glow
The extension cord has been
Chewed through, though
And the outdoor outlet is half-broken
From last year’s snow

This Lily

by Tim Gorichanaz

What’s so unsettling about this lily
I say,
Is that it’s just like me.

A big storm comes in and floods the pot and the next day you think it’s finally done for but lo and behold it gets back up, turgid, it

Smells in the summertime of our bedroom,
A human ferment it

Flowers again even when the other plants have given up it

Perhaps knows there will be
An end
Written in the world all around but

For now, the sun is out

Shenzhen retouched

by Dawid Juraszek

Two birds came down the road
their heavy snake-like tails
enmeshed with dusty trees.

They stirred the burning air
above the ceaseless rush
their song greyed out by din.

Then hopped along the curb
their colours lost on all
the hurried and the stressed.

Their wings unrolled, they flew
across the Xinhu Street
amid the hurtling surge.

And then you fear they now belong
in a convenient zoo
with rapid eyes and velvet plumes
not broken on the wheels.

The shapes and sounds and sights
that made their world – retouched.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"black cormorant, whirlpool"

by Miriam Sagan

black cormorant, whirlpool
reversing rapids
pulled by tide
Bay of Fundy…
stink of the pulp
and paper plant
a boat
a view from a bridge…
whatever taught me
to see things as they are
not as I wish them:
I’ll call “sensei”

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Eudaimonia

by Don Thompson

Water grass knee-high in ditch bottom muck:
A green so intense it would last all summer
And then some in a better world.
But here it dries up in a week.

Sub Storm

by Michael H. Brownstein

Today is Friday, tomorrow the beginning of next week,
An angry grumbling of earth, the heat a shower of shame,
Rising water, a plastic death to the ocean, things look bleak.
Today is Friday, tomorrow the beginning of next week.
Where is the Cuban Coney, the Sardinian Pika, the prairie leek,
The Jamaican Monkey, the Bulldog rat, the prame?
Today is Friday, tomorrow the beginning of next week,
An angry grumbling of earth, the heat a shower of shame.

By The Cauvery

by Rashmi Vesa

Crystal clear Cauvery calms the roaring sun
light showers douse a river ablaze,
rousing green,sprouting life.
The serene waters deceptively cloak
vertiginous whirlpools looking for prey,
masheers play, twirl away
confounding egrets and
painted stork alike.
At the cusp of twilight
a teasing sliver of silver moon,
herds elephants into water,
chinkaras call in the distance,
a light wind shifts sand
flaking gaur hoof prints.
The air is punched by pithy calls
of a cuckoo looking for another's nest,
a tiger sprawled over a crescent rock
waits for dark clouds to shroud the moon.
Quiet flows the Cauvery.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"It still surprises me"

by Miriam Sagan

It still surprises me
on a city street
how no one
crashes in to me, and I
avoid their feet—
cinquefoil on the mountaintop
blooms in its crevices
and a yellow throated green  warbler
sways on a branch

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ancient Ones

by Laara C Oakes

Spiraling up from the deep
in a whirlwind of slurry,
wakes a mighty force
born from power and fury.

Vernal fire cracks winter ice.
Atomic halation.
Stellar combustion.
Beginning creation.

Inspecting the Damage

by John Grey

I’m a friend to the lost
so farewell, alders, cedars.
My breath is a bell-tower
ringing silently.
Day’s sad light spreads
to include the few
Douglas firs not dragged away.

Suffering, pain,
echo of a buzz-saw,
bitterness,
everything oily to the touch,
senses at the crossroads,
hemlocks, moss, maidenhair,
mud-spattered grass, mushrooms –
the wreckage of yesterday’s logging –
scorched earth unveils its meaning.

Brown Field in Summer

by Taylor Graham

All this dead bio-mass still standing – shoulder-
high wild oats over a thickly woven pad of vetch
and clover the nitrogen-fixers, bull-thistle
crowned in spiky purple blossom in May,
beloved of goldfinch. By June, stiff and brown,
flammable. Also foxtail and rip-gut brome, bane
of passing creatures. But the phoebe still
finds insects in this sunburnt jungle, the turkeys
lead their chicks through, pecking who knows
what. Spring green has spent its seed;
the annuals’ life after death, to come again
next year, for goldfinch, turkey, phoebe.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

"The dog and I climb the hill,"

by Eliza Mimski

The dog and I climb the hill,
The crepuscular light, twilight,
The birds with their consonants, their vowels.

The dog stops and smells the trees,
Drunk on their elixir.
The dog urinates
To say how much he loves them.

The tree is a bird planted in the ground.
Its wings are branches.
The tree is dark brown lush,
Shadow maker.

The light shifts,
The sky begins to close
As we make our way up the hill.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Ninety-five Days

by David Chorlton

The last time was a sprinkle.
Just enough
to tease flowers
out of the saguaro, and to wet
the air for arriving
doves.
         We don’t know
when we turn a faucet
where the water comes from
any more, while on the mountain
cholla needles shine
with thirst.
                It’s been ninety-five
dawns with scarcely
a cloud. But it helps to be
an animal to know
how dry the days have been:
                                             to wake
at dusk and wander. To remember
hidden springs. And when
they no longer flow
to climb
            up to the ridgeline
and lick salt
from the rim of the moon.

Haiku to the Moon

by Terrence Sykes

constellations play
kickball with the moon across
that vast milky way

Weed-Eating One's Own

by Taylor Graham

He aligns the swath straight as a pike
through headhigh wild oats and needled
brome. Assurance of long acquaintance.
The sun’s a little bit late to hit the swale,
the cusp of summer. A far extent of field
unmowed, uncharted though he knows
every foot of it. He could have paid
to have this done, but that would
neglect the connection a piece of ground
is owed, the owner always in its debt.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Koi

by Michael Medler

She lies,

lumpish and still
where the heron killed her,
entangled in her own entrails,
beyond swallow size.

Her sallow scales glint
in angular morning light. One
eye might catch the quick
of clouds, the other gazing

down where she left eggs
for spring. She gapes,
wavers in ripples, torn
where water falls, coasting

in sublime ugliness. Not
even food for the bird;
just kill. Just where her time
let her lie. Just there.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Bench Behind Stone Hall

by Shannon Donaghy

I wonder who it was that decided
That we should get to glimpse the Meadowlands
Beyond the suburbs of Little Falls
And just before the sprawling skyline
Over the sawed-off necks of cedar trees
Heads somewhere by the street down below

I sit a bit to the side of all that
Where the trees are still intact
Oaks and birches and underbrush
The bench where a mother racoon
Has been rumored to sit
After sifting through the garbage
There’s so little room for all this up here
Deer lingered outside my window last year
Leaning like billy-goats against
The sloping rocks of Clifton’s cliffs

I guess we’re all too busy
Gawking at the city lights
Out there in the mountainous middle distance
To notice the massacre

My Tiny Bit of Green

by Azrael Tseng

On Earth Day I plant a tiny sapling
in a nice spot with lots of sun and space.
It looks so skinny, such a fragile thing --
I wonder why the teachers clap and praise.

“You kids are like this tree-to-be -- so small,
but you are both the future of this Earth.
Now learn this most crucial lesson of all --
replant, retell the story of its birth.”

I do as my teacher says and water
my tiny sapling every day with care.
I do it for the ones who don’t bother
but sometimes I cry out loud, "It’s not fair!"

“It’s only because there are those like you
who do their bit to help save our planet,
that we still have a chance to start anew,
undo the bad by those who began it.”

Well, I started this tiny bit of green,
and although it may not seem very much,
it adds a splash of color to the scene --
in twenty years it'll be too tall to touch.

If only it makes it. I go one day,
heavy watering can hanging from an arm,
to find them all cut down and thrown away --
all we planted with their tree-to-be charm.

Where warm soft grass once fluffed under our feet,
now splayed lumpy earth like churned up porridge.
Growling from the fenced-off grounds of concrete,
dozers prowl like guard dogs to discourage.

But the part that really makes my heart sink?
The sign out front reads -- ‘Future Builders Inc.’



Written by Azrael Tseng on 23/04/2017, inspired by the sight of his second-graders planting sapling for agriculture.

Monks' Garden

by Terrence Sykes

fig shadows & apothecary roses
sprawl & almost
consume & reconstruct
ancient greenhouse ruins

bees flourished contentedly
amongst saliva & rosemary
countless healing herbs
outlined that enclave

comfrey once
healed bones & wounds
now twists upon
broken beams

seemingly now only
divine intervention could
resurrect this sacred
abandoned garden

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Caw

by Amanda Eagleson

          This cool wet April
            this damp delay
  spreads the Still Creek Roost
         a murder of grey sky
                  Until May
  black feathers, feet, and beak
             In June we nest.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Capture This

by Jules Henderson

Wild jasmine and gardenia arrest the senses,
and the shores of Haleiwa are crowded with cliff-diving natives.
Rain cascades down walls of molecules that hide themselves in sun rays;
we are heathens but we breathe in their mana, assuming it is ours to claim.
          (Still, this is not appropriation)
Sleet grey lava stone whispers prophecies to cherry hibiscus:
Next year at this timethe water will be too toxic to drink.
In the sand, our fingers mimic Cezanne’s strokes to capture this fleeting moment—
why is life a canvas only
to those who bow
humbly to the heart?
Pele either creates or destroys; she does not preserve.
We take our cues from her to fashion our days
and dance like sphinx inside plumerias in search of wine.

An Australian summer

by James Aitchison

Grieving hills,
Your silky trees consumed by fire.

In the angry afternoon
The heat strangles a breeze at birth,

And the wild night claims
The leavings of the day.

How Can You Keep A Weather Eye Out If You Can’t See?

by Jeff Bernstein

It is just one murky Vineyard night:
cinnamon swirls of fog droplets collect
everywhere like transparent cotton candy
spun on a machine of twisted oaks
and brown leaves as they strain
and lisp over Up-Island roads.

Lighthouses signal sadly across
the Sound but no one watches
anyhow. Light chop slaps
the few fishing boats still tied up
at Dutcher Dock, two old cobraheads
sputter above the parking lot
and a single light burns
inside the lobster pound.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Gulf Branch

by Ben Nardolilli

Spring approaches, it is warm enough
To crawl through the wide open drain pipe
And listen to the traffic going overhead

The run has lost its icy cover,
Water flows around our shadows as we balance
Over the rocks that are moss-free for now

On the other side, we look up at the white
Spaces between the tree branches,
They shelter us with the end of all expression

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

one flick
    of a black-tipped ear--
      jackrabbit revealed

Copper River Salmon,
Best in Alaska

by Sarah Henry

It must be hard to be a salmon,
mouthed by a bear
and dragged to the woods

or caught by men
with fishing boats,
thwacked against the sides.

Times are tough
when eagles screech
and dip too low.

Luck and instinct
lure them
as the river swarms

with millions running
to their summer
destination.

Over a wave,
one salmon leaps
a single arc of possibilities.

Afternoon at Rockaway, Oregon

by Daniela Lorenzi

At last the fog is lifting.
Its echo hangs in the air—
a haze over sand and water
refracting tepid sunlight; now
the waves that boom
to shore glint silver, a never-
ending attack and retreat
a thousand icicles
skipping on the crests.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"when I was 9 years old"

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

when I was 9 years old
I played Mohawk Indian
hide and seek
creeping
among the comforting shadows
of forest trees
and the lacy silhouettes
of ferns
longing for grace

now I’m a 73 year old expat
who has fled
an angry withering
culture
that offers schoolchildren
in schools
as human sacrifices
to appease
merciless gun manufacturing gods

Sunday, June 24, 2018

In the Desert

by Carl Mayfield

thirty-seven drops of rain
have reminded
the cholla cactus
what color is for

Lines

by Colleen M. Farrelly

ibis creeping low
in spring’s oasis
before jaws snap shut

"At the bend, a flamenco cry erupted"

by Margarita Serafimova

At the bend, a flamenco cry erupted.
An invisible rooster, proud with the midday light,
robbed my pulse,
and I looked for confirmation at the man
who was working there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pelagic

by Karla Linn Merrifield

Do not say
the tide goes out
rather it falls
coral reef appears
another
another
secreted shoals
exposed
as turquoise retreats
to horizon-deep blue
I follow
shearwaters
flying the ebb

Sunday, June 17, 2018

"I saw the belly of a bird of prey"

by Margarita Serafimova

I saw the belly of a bird of prey –
dappled as a clear sky with cirrocumulus.
She possessed the inner law.

Cable Crossing

by Gary Lark

I stop at the cable crossing hole
when light just touches
the top of the canyon.
I slip down the bank under the trees
to the liquid emerald
and roll cast to the dimples
of rising trout.
They pay little attention
to my muddler or mayfly.
I set the fly rod down.
This deep green world
turns to magic at twilight
and I give in.
The fish jump and roll
as I breathe the living air.
I will be here at seventeen
and seventy, life washing
through me, this small infinity,
the experience of one.

Haiku At Poinsett Bridge No. 2

by Matthew Banash

You can’t tell
A Monarch butterfly
Where to go

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wild Water

by Victoria Doerper

Water rockets
Round boulders
Tight pressed
In pockets of cliff,
Falling heedless
In spume and thunder
Pounding down,
Surging under
Broken limbs,
Bounding up,
Flowing on again
Strong as a silver
Scour of gravel,
Silt sculpting rock,
Building up a mantle
Of remembrance
In deposits along
The further banks,
Signs that once
Water had a wild
Encounter
With constraint
But left behind
Less than what
She kept
And carried
Forward.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Haiku At Poinsett Bridge No. 1

by Matthew Banash

Crows laugh in the elms
At jokes I don’t get-
Caw caw caw

Around the Bend

by Gary Lark

We fished the south fork
for bullhead catfish
or steelhead in the winter
but seldom for trout.
I decided it was time to explore.
June, before it got too warm,
I headed up river,
looking for water on BLM
or Forest Service land,
somewhere not posted.
On the map Cow Creek
makes a big loop
before joining the river.
I walk railroad ties
away from civilization,
catch a couple of trout,
nothing to get excited about,
when a sweet aroma
filters through the trees.
I follow, find some tiger lilies.
Though perfect in their own right,
it's not them.
Down more ties, around a bend,
the scent invades me,
tunnels into my cells.
There it is, wild azalea
in full bloom, filling the world
with its heavenly essence.
In the pantheon of aromas,
it could shoulder aside
gardenia and honeysuckle.
Wild azalea, unmatched.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Hummer Sunset

by Mike McCormick

Emerald stars
Erupt from sun
Orbit juniper

Scatter like comets
When yucca shadows
Grow long talons

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Deodar Cedar

by Jack King

I have three trunks
like a fork
aimed straight at the sky.
I climb the air.
My limbs reached out for a hand
to hold,
but never found one so kind.
The only one of my kind,
For all I can see.
I stand taller than all around,
They never knew the reason for my height
was because of my bite on an old sewage pipe
deep beneath the grass and pavement. Shit
was my secret
ingredient.

Raging Earth, Soothing Sea

by Maria DePaul

The ground quakes before me,
The islands overflow with fire.
I am Pelehonuamea,
Hawaii’s Volcanic mother.
I devour the archipelago
With towers of ash.
I rage at human stains on the
Landscape, erasing every trace.
Men flee to my basaltic shores,
To meet the goddess of the sea.
My sister Namakaokahi cools
Raging sands with soothing waters.

Binghamton June

by Matthew Johnson

In summer,
The wide, brushstroke Catskill daylight
Never bothers the farm girls tending their gardens,
Or the mountain men, hiking the valleys
And streams of the Hudson River.

In summer,
The clouds coiling ‘round the Catskills
Suffocate the sun, and spill autumn,
For in that low-hanging, morning June mist,
There’s plenty of 50-degree days to be found.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Grass Bends with the Smoothness of Blue Jay Dreams

by Adam Brown

Pliant grass bends with the softened wind
and submerges sorrow with the blackened
soil of faith and healing

Dwarf’s Beard lichen soothes the bones
of pain and whisks away phantoms of
night-molded loneliness

Palpable minnow-shine supplants
misery with Pine memories in essences
of elation and delight

Love permeates the broken twilight
of sadness and overwhelms the heart
with everlasting fortitude

Feathers of a Blue-Jay pirouette
down into the pond in renaissance fashion,
creating ripples of satisfaction

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Favoured Island

by Joanna M. Weston

a ferry sails into harbour
on its reflection
while mountains
rise into burning skies
and Douglas firs shake
cones on our heads

farm-stands litter
the winding roads
where crags reach
to tidal points
and bundled roses
open gates built
out of driftwood
for a tourist Canon

The Catch of the Day

by Matthew David Laing

Acidic falling drops of concentrated
reptilian poison, splurging over tinted
glass windshields, wipers
melting and sticking like chewing gum.
The metal doors warp and buckle,
a child screaming from the back seat.

Geysers of waste and plastic
toppling over onto acres of sturdy pine,
filling the soil with chemicals, rot
and fusion of the environment with human
venom and excrement.

Once an uncharted emerald and sapphire vastness,
is home to the seagulls stooping over
the salty sea to the east – the fishing trolleys
lay silent and empty to the west, waiting
for the century’s catch of the day.

Silent Circles

by Emily Strauss

i.

the Redtail hawk is hardly seen against the cliff
wings held stiff for the up-drafts, only his shadow
circles over us, we duck and flinch instinctively

ii.

the moon is voiceless yet we denote by design
a female presence, pale, wan, fragile, a distant
ideal circling at night, a ghost in gauzy dress

iii.

the field sprayer turns around the center well
once a day, wheels pass silently, herds of deer
arrive at dusk to lick droplets from the alfalfa

iv.

dark black vultures, a kettle, slowly pass over
ready to slip lower, testing the state of a vole
lying under sage, bloody teeth marks dripping

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Three Photographs
Pepper Trail


Checkerspot

Haiku

 Lily & Grass

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