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.