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