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,
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
         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


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


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

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.