Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sonnet to the Fifty-One Senators Who Voted
Against the Women’s Health Protection Act

by Joanne Durham 
I don’t have a personal story 
to pull at your heartstrings.    Never
bled sterile from a coat hanger.    Never
carried a child inside my body 

minus a mouth or a windpipe, knowing 
they would die within days strangled 
on their own breath. Was young and naive
but never paid the price. In America, we elect

you for your adorable puppy and three smiling 
children, spaced apart like their perfectly 
braced teeth. Then you abort 
compassion  --   your heartstrings broken. 

Our shared story is watching five deemed
Supreme smirk us back to the Dark Ages.

A Rat is a Rat is a Rat is a Rat

by Leticia Priebe Rocha
on a lilly boat 400 years ago the genocide rat
fucks and fucks breeds star-spangled rat
nips at chained feet spawns white hooded rat
burns crosses runs for office elephant red rat
tears into black and brown bodies blue rat
gnaws only a tad more politely after all a rat
is a rat is a rat is a rat

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Elementary School Die-In

by Lara Dolphin

a fearsome sinner with nothing to lose
she set about righting the wilderness 
one cause at a time
starting with permissive gun laws
kids were easy to organize
they had phones
social media accounts
and zero fucks left to give
the first Friday in June
the last day of school for many
and Gun Violence Awareness Day
they readied for action 
walkers arrived first, 
then drop offs
then bus riders
assembling in front of schools
teams of fourth graders
helped position students on sidewalks
while art students traced outlines
in white chalk
fifth graders draped 
bloodied bandages 
across bodies 
backpacks, and lunch boxes
the yearbook staff shot video
while drama students 
led choreographed 
death throes and wails
all creation broke out
in a FOXP2 miracle
as a choir of the living chanted
Protect kids, not guns!
then homeroom bell rang
kids arose
gathered their belongings
and headed to class
she would continue 
to protest to contend to fight
wrestling God in the kingdom on earth
until her name was no longer woman
no longer Isha, but Israel 

Seed Fall Beneath the Redwoods

by Kevin Maus

Sun without boundary meeting the enormity of the trees; a driving downpour of light. In the cradle near the cool mud heart. Situated in view of a miracle, I find myself attendant. Thank God. The treetops rain with redwood seeds; with dust rising in warm rolls of wind. Enormity taking place before the prayer of inconsequence: counting its beads. Here at the bottom, where light fills up; feeling floating in it; moved around in it, by it. Twilight calm in stupefying effusion, one that is brighter than reason. Overcoming.

Can one take it as an assurance? Yes.

Ineradicable, irreducible. Days still come: poor preachers come, proselytizing forgetting, and the self that is selves among selves among selves, making likenesses likenesses likenesses; and the certainty obscures—yet is no less Absolute; no less everlasting. Just not fully realized...until the old preachers come no more, and the world becomes a paradigm of prayer and forgetting is set free, and worship becomes a mode of mind free of all mirror element (free of all I). Where one sees forever: the seeds falling.

Sunday, July 24, 2022


by Leticia Priebe Rocha

In the song Cálice, infamously censored by the U.S. backed Brazilian military dictatorship, Chico Buarque and Milton Nascimento express the need to launch an inhuman scream because it is the only way to be heard. 
This is, of course, roughly translated. Translated roughly, of course, like human beings across ocean and desert, landing where
searching for life becomes criminal alien
ravaging lives turns into removal proceedings
children in cages shift to minor detainees
concentration camps metamorphose to detention centers,
all blending together, blending with thousands of other translations that maintain this stolen land, blending into our daily lives, blending into your mind, ultimately begging a single question:
Are 11 million screams enough? 
*Shut up


by Robin Dellabough
A river of grief has evaporated:
red birds fly low over the empty bed.
Mothers rest on pillows of moss,
hum a morning song to remember
the ancient river rhythm.
Children, now waterfree and fearless, clamber
banks exploding in drifts of liatris, blazing star.
Fathers dry pan for golden minutes,
abiding in transformation, the wreath of days.
The mystery isn’t how this happened.
The mystery is how we forgot.

Friday, July 22, 2022


by Douglas J. Lanzo

gust of lake wind
the diving osprey tucks
a moment early


by Lorelyn De la Cruz Arevalo

dark clouds again
into the sky
i fall


 by Ram Chandran

drip drip
from the edge of a mango leaf -

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Dakota Territory

by Sharon Hilberer

In a land-locked county
in southern Minnesota
seagulls flicker up
from stubble fields.
           So much whiteness.

Bonneville at Night

by Kevin Maus

Clean night silence offered like an eternal search, a wonder of white, thought as clean as bone laid bare. Calling.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

On Dreams

by Leticia Priebe Rocha

From the ages of two until seven, every night
Mamãe would read me a story about streets lined
with gold. I’d scrunch my forehead in concentration
and eagerly drink up every last word. She’d promise:
“We will be in the story too, when we learn English.”
I couldn’t wait to live in the land of dreams.
Two years later we got on a plane, chasing the dreams.
Eight hours is a long flight but I slept through the night,
and for the first time, I dreamt in English.
When we arrived in the dream land, the streets were lined
with tar. The houses were unfenced though, a promise
of safety. Mamãe told me to concentrate
on school. That was the only way. So I concentrated
on being the best. Giving and giving, their dream
guest, never taking. Mamãe stopped promising
the story would be ours. At night
we’d kneel in silent prayer, candles lined
up, shadows stark in our empty home. We knew English,
knew it so well we even prayed in English.
It wasn’t enough. No amount of concentration
nor prayer was enough for the law. The line
was too long, long before us. I was the perfect dreamer
but my dreams turned from gold to tar. Nights
turned again and again and again, promises
expired from higher up. No, empty. My promise
dwindling. Twelve years. Perfect English,
perfect comprehension of what unfolds in daylight.
Human beings held prisoners in large concentrations
for desperately seeking a meticulously packaged dream.
Children ripped from kin at their borderline,
how long before they are carted into a more sinister line?
Babies forced to take care of other babies, promising
better days they cannot see. No use in dreams,
they were shattered when English
became a vessel for building walls in high concentrations.
The children see an entire country that sleeps at night -
would you lie in bed if it was your child, English
speaking? What promises would you break in a concentration
camp? What dreams of yours would die in the land of nightmares?


by Lara Dolphin

brutish, hungry, unsuspecting 
you helicopter from your superyacht
in Marina di Carrara to my quarter  
we talk of scorched fields and bombed buildings
while I prepare the meal
twisting cords of dough beneath my palms
otto e mezzo plays in the parlor
the table is set, the meal is ready– 
a bottle of wine to chug 
as you shovel forkfuls of pasta
thickly sauced with shavings of Parmesan
followed by salad drenched in balsamic vinegar– 
vapor lock, spasm of the airway
I hope you choke 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Crows Cry Bloody Murder

by Sharon Hilberer
know why
they mob up like this.
In winter, Minneapolis 
watches them stream in. They know things that we just don’t know.
of corvids
send out an alarm.
All night they shivered in the trees;
are they screaming to heaven that it’s TOO FREAKIN’ COLD!?
currents: Disturbance
everywhere. Interpret tremors,
taste atmosphere, survey far horizons for danger.
They’re agitated!
Full-throated caws. Caw! Caw!! Caw!!! CAW!!!!
Urgent birds. It’s a Hitchcock thing, and we’re surrounded!
jagged cries
shatter closed windows
with sharp shards of raucous ranting:
Rouse yourselves now, people—the planet is on fire!


by Chen-ou Liu

one climate promise
after another, another ...
gathering storm

Monday, July 11, 2022


by Tiffany Mackay

blackberry flowers—
a bumble bee sways over
slanting sunlight

Sunday, July 10, 2022


by AE Reiff

Passes for exiles in industry,
exits unguarded above and below, 
clapboards large and abandoned,
dream yards of roof covered rows,
shacks and warehouse unsecured,
posters under the stars,

vagrants and migrants, gypsies, tenants,
homeless squatters, blacksmiths, artists.
The house never finished,
catwalks, rickety, dangerous
where pieces crock together and cram,
crowds mill shoulder to shoulder to pass,
name tags missing where we encamp.

Anyone returning will know
this place in the beat that is so,
expatriates advance
slow motion from a camp
where wolves blotch purple eyes
and rumors rife as the numbers swell
to escape before the border is closed.

At Last A Valley

 by Lara Dolphin

When you cannot go on
you descend through fog 
to the mountain’s base

turn left at the blinking yellow 
then cross the bridge
toward the rebuilt barn 

along shoulderless roads
where cattle graze above
on terraced slopes

past willows and horses
solar panels, alfalfa 
and the sinkhole filled five winters back

hand-drawn signs 
point to homes
where lives lay on tables

you mean to look 
but small bills fly
to cash register nests

old games, picture frames
fishing rods, a box of jackets, a mug
fill your trunk

and the long, cold night
of your soul 
escapes toward the dawn  

Friday, July 8, 2022


by Nancy Scott McBride

first light -
spider webs sparkling
in the fallow field


by Carl Mayfield 

spring winds finished--
       too late
           for the lilac


by Carol Farnsworth

fog rises
after hail's pelting
ghostly heat


by Tiffany Mackay

watching the heron
watching the fish

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Horseshoe Crabs Fabliau
~ a Cape Cod Ecology

by Royal Rhodes

Knobby carpets formed by Horseshoe crabs
are mounds along the shore in Monomoy.
Banks of sand are held in place by grass
where waves have scoured tesserae of glass
and in the shallows herons hunt for dabs.

Some crabs have flipped and made a tempting meal
for hungry gulls, those gluttons of the beach.
I hang an empty shell upon my wall.
A scent of brine adheres as I recall
the spot I saw a shark and rolling seal.

Red Knots have flocked to taste this bright blue blood
that doctors drain to use to test for toxins.
Each season's transformations are a race
in molting, sliding from their carapace --
many times -- emerging from the mud.

The Darkness

by David Chorlton

Mockingbirds never tire
of singing; their voices sparkle in the small
hours when silence
wears their song as jewelry.
Is anyone awake?
                               Can anybody hear
the sound tomorrow’s news
makes as it hurries down the city streets
asleep at the wheel? The twenty-four hour
convenience stores are chilled
to the bone, as cold
                                     as the hummingbirds
conserving energy in their state of torpor
until the sky cracks
                                    open and
a light shines through it to reveal
every secret that survived the night,
from the officer’s notes to
the nighthawks
                              with no language
but their wings to say
how graciously the darkness
embraced them in their flight.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Watching 17 Seconds of Bus Cam Video
~For my son, Adam Vespoli, who was shot by police on March 12, 2022.

by Susan Vespoli
Two tiny birds screech from a branch, 
shoot through air, divebomb like fighter
planes. They’re after a hawk that soars
part killer, part king, spreads wings, tucks

talons to chest and I ingest that cop’s face,
his piss caught on bus cam, his dark-ice eyes,
close-cropped black beard, slack lips; then
the slim shape of my son, the cop’s gun 

and I turn it off, return in my mind to the hawk,
who hustles off, chased by the mocking-
birds who zip like bullets, like courage 
squawk backtalk, defend eggs, protect nest

and I want to channel them, scream and flail,
send hawk who shot my unarmed homeless son to jail.

Author's Note: Police rousted a group of sleeping unsheltered individuals from a tunnel in Phoenix on March 11, 2022, my son among them. My son who questioned the police’s right to cite them for sleeping was thrown to the ground and charged with a felony of resisting arrest. When he was released from a night in jail, he boarded a city bus to stay warm, then ordered off the bus for sleeping by a cop who minutes later shot him. https://susanvespoli.com/