Saturday, November 11, 2023


By Mona Bedi

cumulonimbus —
still the clouds from
my childhood

winter dawn
a fledgling tries
to flee the nest

summer’s end
a whiff of autumn
takes me home

Friday, October 13, 2023

Rivers I Have Known

 By Terrence Sykes

London embanks upon
The Thames - laced with many bridges

Cairo cradles upon
The Nile - lacking any bridges

My old flat sheltered me from driving rain & cold
My new quarters shield me from drought & sand storms

Big Ben keeps time on the Grand Isle
Minarets mark the passage in the Delta

Armored crocodiles patrol the banks & waters while
Marked birds soar & threaten from the vast sky above

The shadows of the last war linger & haunt
A new war looms heavy & low as mosquitos

The morning fog overflows its banks - Waters reach flood stage at dawn
Though drought - fear & doubt reign upon parched lands

A seasonal haiku

 By Ed Ahern

first leaf barely brown
waif on a still growing lawn
prophet of the chill

Friday, September 22, 2023

Human Vibrations

By Leila Kulpas

Our scavenge for old bottles forgotten
my mother, father and I follow one another
along the river bankin the light of reared-up clouds.

Steps bounce over mulch and moss,
strands of casuarinas brush bare arms,
and low down, on trunks like cement,
cicada shells gape and glint.
Embossed with the creature's
every ridge, hollow and bump,
even tiny hemispheres of eyes,
my child's mind would shudder
at the thought of the tearing away.

When I unhook the legs,
the spines scratch, as if the empty shells
have come to life, startling my grip.
The breeze snatches them, dances them
round and round. Drops them
in unreachable crannies.
I try holding them tight,
but they crackle into flakes.

Even in our silence,
our reverence, our human vibrations frighten.
Every few feet, a water dragon
plunges into the stream up ahead.
We hurry, squint through bubbles,
glimpse its shadow.
Drifting, sinking.

The Snail, The Rooster

By Maurizio Brancaleoni

after the rain —
the saved snail
extends its horns

dawn in the suburbs —
the rooster crows
as in olden times


by Chen-ou Liu

alone with the sound
of water flowing over rocks ...
this childhood river

Zen Garden
a dragonfly's wings pat
the morning sunlight

eye of the hurricane
alone in the dark I look
into my life

Monday, September 4, 2023

Lost At Sea

By Ceri Marriott

Slave, migrant, refugee
Forced to sea, to leave
An oft-loved land of birth,
A cherished family, and dear friends -
What choice for many
On this ill-apportioned earth,
Exploitation and abuse
Still over and above free will;
And while the politicians spout their stuff,
And crooked exploiters make their bucks,
The humble fisherman
Nets not fish, instead dead children, babies are his catch
To huge, but shortlived outcry,
And a sickening racket
Which stirs again the cruel fuel
Of endless profiteering.

River Thames

By C.X. Turner

frost fairs
on the River Thames
roasting oxen

Pine Creek

 By Katharine Cristiani

800 years of Eastern Hemlocks

a cathedral of giants

until an insect 

rolled as forest fire 

charred the life out,     

centuries of canopies disappeared

August 2019 - Pennsylvania Mountain Laurel 

evergreen jewels 

except when drought 

sucks the jade out, wilted

brown-spotted, dying

March 2020 - Sycamores

white parchment rips

torn scrolls fall

wind storms extract roots 

teeth dangle from gums

July 2021 - Red Pine

burgundy mosaic bark 

cradles the forest 

soft needles crown the sun,

the chaperones of Pine Creek

watchers of clear water

of the black flies 

     who float with trout 


August 2022 - Blue Heron 

raises its leg 


the S of its neck

stabs beak into trout

June 6, 2023 - Deer

choke at dawn

when a dry peach rises 

against gray

poisoned dandelion seeds 

blown into orange haze

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Untitled Transalations II

By Stephen A. ROzwenc 


Mai ia manawa mai
ʻO ka ʻalani
ʻAʻohe mea i moeʻuhane maikaʻi

Ever since
The watermelon
Nothing has dreamed better

Untitled Translations I

By Stephen A. Rozwenc


Vuelos de colibrí
Abrir la cremallera
Nada sublime

Hummingbird flights
Sublime nothingness

Splash Of Intuition

By Jean Janicke

From a distance all is calm
at this stretch of the Hughes River.
Flat water by the far bank
reflects specks of sky shimmered
through dark bars of tree trunks.

Roots grasp the river’s edge
by the abandoned church
as branches reach across ripples
bubbled by submerged stones.

A dry leaf zig zags down, rocks
like a silent metronome, breaks
mirrored water.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Grand Reopening

Dear Plum Tree Patrons, Morgen John here.

It's 3 months to the day that my father passed away.

In his honor, we're having a grand reopening.

Will be posting 3 poems per day for the next 3 days!

Like my dad I'm a fan of the mystical, wondrous ways of nature.

Therefore, expanding the submission call for rivers, to include all bodies of water -

From puddles to ponds, to seas, angry waves & the like.  This will run to September 23rd.

The beginning of autumn approaches.

(Thanks for understanding my hiatus)

Gunnison River, Black Canyon

By Ryan Harper

At bottom they were groping for light:
such a pass a day makes across the rocks,
pale rails rolling up the twisted trunks
of junipers. People like them had warned them:
no place for the neophyte.

Hard to tell behind veils what goes down,
but the land’s higher relief is first
to vanish under secret claims; secret
combinations of people like them would clear them
from the west, for the breaking ground.

John Gunnison, layman, captain, friend
to the civilized tribes, sent dispatches;
the rapids grayed as the white day came and went
over lunch. Those who knew Zion by light
believed a glory reached its end.

The clash by night and the clash with night—
ignorant armies never know which, cause
Gambel oak, knuckled root and gneiss, to assume
martial postures. Back all this, the latter-day fear:
Zion ruled in plural, off-white.

Gunnison, at bottom you will lie:
rising schistic to the canyon rim
great columns of earth will keep watch—for the dark,
with the dark—make your peace with the hard stakes,
the rails laid up into the sky.

Piney River

By Joe Cottonwood

Just another midwest river you never heard of,
green, quiet, doing its job. We float for miles
in a johnboat. An abandoned wasp nest
hangs from the gunnel. We drift and paddle
passing limestone bluffs, cedar trees
hanging from cracks. The day is
smothering hot, Fourth of July.

Vines tangle the sky,
lilies flatten cool water.
Turtles plop. Scads of tiny fish
swirl around our paddles
as if curious, playful. Sudden mist—
a mossy waterfall. We see watersnakes
dark and diamond-backed, frogs that stare,
egrets white, herons blue,
and the lovely purple gallinules
which the guidebook says don’t live here
but in stealth they do,
all in a narrow wandering sanctuary of wildlife
wedged between farms. And here’s
a beaver lodge—in Missouri!

What we don’t see
are other human beings
until we beach at Baptist Camp
where a party of teens flying a rebel flag
play loud music from gunrack trucks
and set off fireworks, celebrating bombardment.
Nearby is Sweet Potato Cave where
peaceable farmers hid their harvest
from raiders during the Civil War.
Caves, like rivers, hold secrets.
The teens have no idea.

The Old-growth Forest Trail

by Darrell Petska

Here must waft
the tang of joy
at its simplest:

feasting saproxylics—
tiny beetles,
blooming fungi—

imparting to the flesh
of long-fallen giants
life anew.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Plum Tree Tavern Elegy

By Royal Rhodes. 

For Russell Streur.

Plums that bent the boughs of Temple trees
Lie as fallen fruit upon the ground,
Untouched by monks of buzzing clouds of bees,
Mixing with a peacock's strident sound.

The palette of these trees reflects each season:
Red that protests when earth's green is gone.
Elegies from owls that test our reason
Emerge to hunt the longed-for coming dawn.

The Tavern Innkeeper who welcomed us --
As water in a river fills these spaces --
Veered away from haiku, pale with fuss.
Each voice he sought had nature's edgy traces.
Returning writers fleeing urban bustle,
Now hear how wind has strewn the leaves that rustle.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Origin Of The Species

By Russell Joseph 

(In honor of my late father, Russell.  May he Rest in Peace - The Plum Tree Tavern's original barkeep.  He has left this establishment to his eldest son - my name is Morgen) 

May he live on forever in this space he loves, crafting words and enjoying collaborators he chose carefully.  He was a judicious editor  & I will continue that legacy.  Some of his dying breaths were to post another poem here. So I will begin with one of his.

We love & miss you Dad ~ Morgen, Devin & Margot ~

"We died in the dust.

We died in the rain.

We died on the hills in the arms of our fathers who came and who died and hung from the crosses and died in the darkness and ashes with our mothers before us.

We died in our beds and we fell from the cliffs and died on the rocks.

We drowned in the sea and we died in the summer and we died the day we were born in famine and plague.

We died on the mountain by fire and stone.

We died in the mouths of hyenas in the jaw of despair and we died in the valley leaving footprints and bone.

We danced on the flood and we climbed on the shore and we stood in the cave in the eye of the lamb and our veins and our lungs were the sound of the drums on the moor in the song of the heart and the hymn of the dove.

We rose out of mud and we came out of clay.

We came out of the tomb and the mouth of the fish and we rose from our graves to the hour of earth from the weave and the warp and the loom of the night.

We came from the ark and the maze and we rose from the dew and we came to the day with the loaves of the bread and the skins of the wine.

We walked on the water and we walked on the moon and we walked on the streets of diamond paved cities in impossible joy wearing dresses of light.

We rose out of dirt and rode on the wind and we wrote on the walls and came up from the wreck of our ships in unfathomable deep with the heart of the ocean passed through by the storm.

We came with the flame and the wand of the stars in our hands on the third morning of May and we came out of desert and we swam on the tides with the breath and the word and the names of our gods on our lips and like heroes and ghosts and lovers survive."

Friday, May 26, 2023

Against the current

by Kevin Browne

against the current
a muskrat tests
the spring chill


by Chen-ou Liu

the call 
of a Canada warbler 
mist-choked over water

River Avon

by Farah Ali

River Avon
a smudge of otter
ripples the surface 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Already Noon

by David Chorlton
The air’s a friendly buzz
and breath is honey
on the desert trail that feels
its way from spring
to early summer and the cool
interiors where flickers
raise their young in a saguaro
or the point
at which to decide between the knowledge
of coyotes or the garter
snakes who occupy
the narrow world the news
doesn’t reach; not the overnight
shooting, not
the lines along the southern border
where heat
comes begging for asylum,
and not the storms that pass
between the races. Nothing here
is ever broken; it just
collapses and decays like
dry mesquite and cactus hearts
soaking up the sunlight
even when it stings.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Coal Fires

by Keith Melton
Grandfather Mountain, thawing 
Expanding in molten rants, stone prairies
Casting about the heavens
The earth rippling; stone plateaus, rivers
Peaks and ancient balds, once majestic
Awakening to acid rain, sulphur and the gray leaves of mortality.
Distant cities, warming  
Islands of light born from the furnace
Fire and coal, the turbines
Like magicians toiling in garages
Freeways across the land
Sending diesel clouds into the sky.
Coal fires, burning
Becoming the spawn of the earth, Appalachian spring
Brittle, sedges burning, cliffs barren
Spruce and hemlock dying away
Tourists silent before
Barren trees.
In clouds of coal ash, no text message, no smoke signal.

The Unbearable Weight of Silence

by Doug Stone
After all these years when he walks across Tiananmen square,
the pavement still vibrates with the rhythmic rumble of idling tanks,
the quick, slick, metallic slide and click of machine guns cocking,
the murmur of fear swirling through the crowd like trapped water,
then the sound of gunfire and all those screams eating the air.
 That moment still quivers through his feet into his bones,
quickens the rhythm of his heart, his breath at a dead run,
stumbles, gasping until all the jagged sounds of that day
flat line into an unbearable silence too heavy to carry anymore.

Not All Russians Are Assholes

by Al Ortolani
The mailbox is frozen shut. The mailman
smacks the ice away with his fist, drives
down the road towards the next box
planted on a fence post, leaning from years
of constant wind. They are stuffed with
brochures, catalogued
cruises down European rivers, a time-share
on Marco Island, a glossy envelope of hybrid
tomato seeds for the tray in the window.
There hasn’t been a real letter to open
since Wi-Fi reached the plains, since Google
ran its highspeed cable next to the barbed wire.
In the church office, the minister
searches conspiracy theories for simple answers
to complex problems. Blades
of winter wheat green-up through the sleet
of today’s storm. In years past,
homesteaders planted Russian seeds
that could survive Kansas winters
when nothing grew
except the hope of meadowlarks.

Friday, May 19, 2023


by Farah Ali

mudlarking along
the Thames
dunlins gather  

The San Lorenzo

by Jeff Burt

The San Lorenzo dries
swallows dabble in a trough
take mud from horseshoes

Morning mist

by Joshua St. Clair

morning mist settling
on the Susquehanna’s banks
bird’s-eye speedwell

Music of Rewa

by Monica Kakkar

marble rocks' sculptress
pebbles to Banalingas
music of Rewa

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Mice in the Coal Fields

by Al Ortolani
The office car is abandoned
on a spur of railroad track. It is filled
with dust and gray sunlight. Some windows
are locked in their final shutting,
others broken or riveted with .22 caliber holes.
The door hangs on a single hinge, jamb split,
shattered by vandals. The mining company,
long gone under, has stripped the pastures of the coal
that lay soft and bituminous in its belly.
Bills of sale, receipts, orders indecipherable
litter the floor, catch the breeze, flutter like birds.
The miners who made the transition
from deep shaft to strip mining
drew small pensions or moved on to more
promising veins. Mice run the floorboards,
stuffing file cabinets with fescue, bits of letterhead,
mimeographed paperwork. Even in triplicate
commerce is consumed by mildew, by rough
bark dogwood, by switchgrass. The end
of each workday brings more loose shale.
Overhead a turkey buzzard circles, feathers
like piano keys fingered by wind.

Getting More Than The Drift

by David L Williams

It’s less than perfect river time unless
The feel of water swells against the skin,
With bubbles rising as from fishes’ breaths
And currents stirring feelings like the wind.
The driftwood and the litter on the banks
Might get scant notice, and though clearly dead,
They manage somehow still to join the ranks
Of ducks and railroad bridges overhead.
Passing beneath, one’s path defies straight lines,
The view distracted by some chemistry
Of downstream nudges, heeding current signs,
Becoming like a point in history
Somewhere between the source and yawning mouth,
Which opens, where it’s warmer, way down south.

Mannequins Yearning for Eye Contact

by Cathryn Shea
While visiting Santa Fe, which feels
a world away from my home state,
I’m disoriented tripping upon a lacuna
where monuments once stood
to honor the extermination tactics
of Diego de Vargas and Kit Carson.
And the Indian Wars, America’s real
longest war. And where monuments
that should have been to Pueblo and Navajo
never were, never mentioned
on the edges of my schoolyear textbooks—
Part of existence that’s toppled in a new day.

Back home in Marin, the county named
for coast Miwok Chief Marin, under a sky
dimmed with fall fires, I drive west to hike
to the beach at Abbotts Lagoon, named
for two brothers who grabbed the land
in 1858 for dairy ranching. I try to escape
from the remembrance of amended history,
eyeless busts and statues all over my country
erected to crimes. They used to remind me
of mannequins yearning for eye contact.

Named for a Southern Pacific Railroad
land agent who nobody seems to remember,
Redding, the town I grew up in, overlooking
the Sacramento had cornerstones we ignored
on brick buildings from the mid-1800s,
no generals I knew of atop bronze horses.
As if to pretend that lands weren’t stolen,
the first peoples weren’t massacred: Modoc,
Wintu, Yana, Pit River, and Klamath River tribes.
Like there was nothing to remember.
The historic brothels and saloons have been
demolished now, transplanted by parking lots.

Away from history’s rubble, at the western limit
of the continent, weight of the atmosphere
presses down on me. Sand in my face, water-doused,
I feel the collapse of seafoam. Trying to convince me
the past won’t be repeated, the sweet talk of Pacific spray.

Sunday, May 14, 2023


by Kelley J. White

peering through the mist
half day light
horses in the rain


by Terrence Sykes

summer fragrance blooms
sweet peas sprawling in the ditch
planted years ago

monastic dweller
plum rain falls upon my soul
mulberries & tea

star dust labyrinth
water birch & willow trees
harvest quagmired hours

mirages olive groves
smudged silver grey leaves sway
chimera summer

raging thunderstorms
mythological proverbs
mere pilgrims we are

bitter wild lettuce
beneath this ancient chestnut
shading my body

seasons lie in wait
sweeping autumn leaves aside
chrysanthemums bloom

garden hours rust
weeds shall be our nourishment
share with the rabbits

morning rain mushrooms
soup simmering fire
fragrance of dried fennel seed

rivers of vines soar
cicadas call out to me
lightening bugs are stars

berries fermented
birds flint about the garden
bitter wine to pour

dawn came early
weaving fog in the relics
sprout laden garden

ashes of vespers
scattered upon fresco’d sky
wind tangles my soul

rest in this season
leaves dance in the wind
torn unread pages

pokeweed berry ink
now tobacco brown
once shone lilac brilliance

budding olive saplings
genuflect in the squall
mucked cardoons resurrect

virginia creeper
climbing like jacob’s ladder
hoeing the tilled fields

cloud constellations
voyages to fables isles

forage a craft
sail into oblivion
map my escape

clouds & fabled isles
prune that ruminating light
crayfish augury

chanting cicada
where is your monastery
heal my weary soul

Friday, May 12, 2023

Where There Are Forks

by James Penha

the Lehigh River
flowing shallow this spring
from lack of snowfall

the Lehigh River 
ranks second among toxic
US waterways

the Lehigh River
wholly owned by Lehigh Coal
till 1966

the Lehigh River’s
name stolen from Lenape
for where there are forks

Cowichan River, B. C.

by petro c.k.

riverbed rocks
salmon remains

Granchester Flows into the Cam

by Sarah das Gupta 

Move on, nothing here
 - only the flash
of a kingfisher's brilliance
only fine strands
of bright green hair
only the rise and fall
of clouds of gnats
only the last fingers
of light touching
the line of willows
only the first song
of the nightingale -
No, nothing
Nothing at all


by Pranab Ghosh

One step in water
The shadow of the crane floats
Where are the fishes?

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Temple of the Azure Clouds

by Uchechukwu Onyedikam/Christina Chin

Temple of the Azure Clouds 
beside the Keluang river—
come to venerate
the monk's birthday 

Winnipeg River
by Debbie Strange


Belisima Ribble

by Andrew Collinson
Trickles and drips from limestone lips
ichor, earthy wounds gentle issue
mossy Ribblehead springs and gills
Cam and Gayle beck’s confluence fresh and free
Piped by meadow pipit calls, Belisima Ribble
wends down - to suckle the Irish sea
Three peaks and Roman road near
crows-foot veins nourish flow. Jam, Syke, Shivery
Long, Lat and Mares Gill’s all make young
jugular Belisima grow. Dipper, plover
and stonechat love her, in punctuated
rapid’s steady melisma billow
Stumbling as tot over gritstone rock, a tyke finds her feet
more Yorkshire waters strive and meet
sheep-washing a dammed job for the youngster
She can be harsh and freeze and riffle in breeze
where Swale’s on their knee’s drink her
grey wagtail’s bob yellow, chit and thrive
Milled, wheeled and Pudsey leaped, energetic teen waters put to work
through Settle Gisburn Denham and Bolland, forded bridged and hipp-stoned
Past Fooden’s otter cave the rarely captive teenager slips through landscape
waters downhill escape, quietly moving, an occasional burble or
whispered swirl, a gently moving quiet girl
Her stony hips camouflage redshank and teetering sand piper
near kingfisher and martin’s holy banks. Shy, deceptively strong
naturally covert moving along -she’s smitten. The wild Hodder
industrial Calder and Belisima all wed near Mitton. Unquestioned
she rides Sale Wheel overt before Ribchester’s Roman ford
winding deep as cormorant’s fish, she’s wider, mature and lish
Belisima Ribble quietly broods with certain moods
she can giggle and laugh along the path and boil
in swollen rage. She will dance in fun, potter and run from
mountain issue to old age, coloured brackish
or clear, when the heavens come down she’ll turn
builder tea brown, flooding fascinating fear
The tide rips up a bore as curlew, oyster catcher and snipe probe mud
Thousand’s feed breed and nest round muddy reed
geese - red legged and brent witness Belisima Ribble’s
marshy manifold un-robe, Southport to St Annes
exhausted and spent, she lopes away - to suckle the Irish sea.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Extinct Today

by John Grey
So what in the world's gone now,
what forest, stream or maybe
parking lot, housing estate,
acquired its unknown absence.
No scrape, no whistle,
no pouncing on some tiny woodland
creature that has no clue how
much safer life's become.
Who marks down these things?
Who listens for the unheard echo?
Imagine it. Entire populations
of living creatures gone like some people.
No, you can't imagine it.
You don't know what to imagine.
So where’s the smooth handfish?
What about the harlequin frog?
Has anyone seen the stubfoot toad?
Or the spined dwarf mantis?

Now if you only had the corpse.
But no one knows one's needed.


by Douglas J. Lanzo

last elephant
lurks at forest’s edge
disappearing with the trees


by Lynne Goldsmith

fireflies flashing bright
cold light dusk
summer magnolia trees

Consumption Advisories

by H. W. Day

Asiatic honeysuckle
stems breath & water,
life, & the twining vine of sweet death.

& such sweet death
appropriates a trolling misery
when fish are feeling lunar.
Below the glinted Tallapoosa
a $5 spinnerbait snags a Christmas tree
sunk the Winter prior. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023


by Lynne Goldsmith

eurasian doves
nest in blue spruce tree


by Carl Mayfield 

cooper's hawk swoop--
     eurasian collared dove


by David Josephsohn

gulls and garbage
we embrace 
on the beach

Friday, May 5, 2023

Rio Grande

by Eavonka Ettinger

Rio Grande
beside the north tree
teens drinking 

Vistula River, Poland

by petro c.k.

end of winter
a straw effigy
floats away

Painted willow

by Kimberly Horning

painted willow  a bent in the river


by Mona Bedi

summer sun
a lapwing struts
across the Murray

Wednesday, May 3, 2023


by Jan Wiezorek

Grasses like dried branches
this spring along the creek.

Green prints, eyes placed, 
small fists, lines drawn 

like vision or desire.
The grey turkeys get up

and fly fifteen or twenty
to the limbs, where 

they disappear.
Diminished speech,

alphabetic, to land 
on a hanging “Y”

or a sleeping “P.” 
Chasing the hillside 

with a voice—
muffled and heard

from trees, 

falling bark, needles, 
rounding and rolling

to a natural 

of mystery.    

Hope’s Spring

by Karla Linn Merrifield

There are no toxins;
no further notes of drought,
of famine, nor of tectonic 
fractures in Hawai’i, 
earthquakes in Oklahoma, Arkansas.
No sinkholes of any metaphoric ilk.              
Only the expectant pair
of northern rough-winged swallows
feeding in lazy spirals, snipping up 
dizzy-darting flying insect prey,
and now perched on a fence railing,
sable mating plumage in morning sun.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

I Wish I Were Whitman

by Anthony Snider

listening to the sailor.
His mouth – all pride
speaking the steel ship –
its many cargoes –
his hand caressing the great grey hull
without its even knowing it was

smaller than the North Sea wave
that will push it (building even now
moving to where they will meet)
china and motors and sailors

back up the river of goods
past the showroom and warehouse
the fabricators, machinists, past
silver and bauxite and bales of white
cotton biding time
in the break in bulk ports

to the many points of genesis –
birth in the warm dark soil
precipitate chemistry
and angry groaning magma.


by Karla Linn Merrifield

the tide does not go out
rather it falls
coral reef appears
secreted shoals
as turquoise retreats
to horizon-deep blue
flying the ebb

Friday, April 28, 2023

Death grip

by Sunil Sharma
in the embrace
of hyacinths.

evening puja

by Mona Bedi

evening puja
we dance to the sound of cymbals
on the Haridwar ghat

morning dew

Mark Gilbert

morning dew
daisies yet to open
and the stream

childhood river

by Chen-ou Liu

the murmur
of this childhood river 
same old me, and yet...

Wednesday, April 26, 2023


by Tony Williams

Aberdeen's homeless
wakened by gulls


by M. R. Pelletier

Night shift—
   the weeds collect
   beads of dew


by Chen-ou Liu

a staring contest
with myself in the store window ...
red-tag food prices


by Monica Kakkar

sakura peak blooms
welcome honshu's spring goddess
red list gifu chō

Sunday, April 23, 2023


by Stephen A. Rozwenc

Pluie tôt le matin
Un simple mot pour la grâce
Les morts répètent
Early morning rain
A simple word for grace
                                                              The dead rehearse
Das Yin-Yang-Eigelb
gut/böse Muscheln brechen auf
Caw caw caw-caw-caw
The Yin-Yang yolk
Good/evil shells crack open
                                                             Caw caw caw-caw-caw
Vuelos de colibrí
Abrir la cremallera
Nada sublime
Hummingbird flights
                                                               Sublime nothingness
Palillos de lluvia revuelven
Sufrimiento y adoración
como uno y el mismo
Chopsticks of rain stir
Suffering and adoration
                                                              As one and the same
Aðallega bara úr vatni
Við getum alltaf hellt
Fyrir utan hið þekkta
Mostly made of just water
We can always pour
                                                                 Beyond the known

Friday, April 21, 2023

withered reeds

by Tony Williams

withered reeds
a crow rinsing its beak
in the Kelvin

Bali Metamorphosis

 by James Penha

rainy season replenishes
little Yeo Ho
to become a river raging

John Berryman's Splash

by Jerome Berglund

Washington Bridge
takes a step
poet sound  

River cairn

by Randy Brooks

river cairn
come spring will it
remember me?

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Sentried against an unrelenting foe

 by Herb Tate
Sentried against an unrelenting foe 
    Of ice and wind, hail, rain, and baking sun; 
    Each battle drawn but, oh, so wearisome, 
That now the Juniper, once proud, bends low.
And etiolated limbs that long ago 
    Propped up the sky reach down instead undone, 
    In strength, by time, yet all still needed so 
This tree may be, in this place, ever known. 

Would people cling so stubbornly and trust 
    To single spot against such force, or wilt 
In their resolve and seek another haven? 
    Some do find cause and fight the craven 

Impulse to survive untouched, their inbuilt 
    Sense that suffering borne is noble and is just. 

Listen, You

 by Ingrid Bruck

blue sky repeats repeats blue water
it's hot enough for summer but it's fall
and Novemeber's not the time to pick blueberries in Wisconsin 
a pileated woodpecker bigger than the feeder 
swings and pecks 
two carolina wrens and a nut hatch watch
sky glowers gray
the mistakes we made with everything 
a cloud choke
a cold and hot front clash 
a torrent
in the octoraro watershed
creek banks overflow
from east branch & west branch 
from pequea creek & midle creek 
from the conestoga to the susquehanna river 
mud flows in the run 
death before death
wind pummels leaves off a pussy willow bush
heat pelts late fall
a litany of climate change
the chance / to stand on the corner & tell earth goodby
listen you
, wake up!

(After: Lines from Amy Miller's "To Whoever Inherits the Earth" at Rattle: 
listen, you
the chance / to stand on the corne & tell earth goodby*
the mistakes we made with everything 
death before death

*Amy Miller credits her poem being inspired by William Stafford's Poem 'Waiting in Line': 'the chance / to stand on a corner and tell it goodby!' )

Sunday, April 16, 2023


by Susan Bonk Plumridge

a different trail
through the winter woods
a V overhead


by Ceri Marriott

open season over
the pheasant tries his luck
across the road 

wandering days

 by Milan Rajkumar and Christina Chin 

wandering days –
near a wayside hut
ripening plums 
across the fields 
squawks of parakeets 

Friday, April 14, 2023

Iowa River

by Jerome Berglund

river or field
through dim trees and snow
hard to say


by Randy Brooks 

following the Kanawha river
through the mountains
the only way

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

American Sonnet
(After: Nomad Poem by Pierre Joris)

by Ingrid Buck

baby boomers, a multitude
on the move from one other to another other   
we steal and cheat in match-girl's story, 
we are rocks in pockets of medicare, social security, young workers
los jóvenes. sin zapatos, sin comida, sin centavos
   la pobre niña tiene hambre y mucho frio

so many viejos 
our world on fire 
each body, a suitcase, 
sits packed at the door

a comet streaks
greed fans iceball flames
age speeds time 
wetravel        onebyone         light into the night
wewalk         alone                 upthemountain  
freezewrapped in the same half-blanket we leave our children
no food or water needed this trip       
no time to douse fires we started

what we leave behind 
  under a bleak winter sky
     pockmarked with stars
         ¡Pobrecito! poor cold child
            little match-girl
         flares and drops

Crisis Actor
an oral history

by Steve Straight

I started out legit, doing those drunk driving crash demos
at the local high schools.  In the van I’d change
into my bloody shirt and ripped jeans.  Did my own makeup, too,
got really good at gashes.  I could tell I had something
by the looks on the kids.  They couldn’t keep up
their cool faces when we brought the real.

I was too old for a Sandy Hook kid,
but I could pass at Parkland, they said,
and sent me a first-class ticket.
I played three different victims for that one,
just changing my shirt and hat.
You have to be careful of cell phones now.
Word could get out, like it did for David Hogg.

Then the big one, Vegas in ’17, what a logistical nightmare,
hauling in the full stage, all that equipment,
building those huge hotel sets.  Took weeks.
Two more victims that time, carted off on stretchers.
Damn guy playing an EMT whacked my head
swinging me into the ambulance.  Bled for real
that time, needed three Advil.

It’s so simple to get parts now with a supposed
mass shooting every month—like that would really happen.
I did that church thing outside Charleston in ’15,
played my first cop.  Orlando was cool,
that nightclub one, but we went through blood packs
like water.  Those clothes are permanently stained.

The guy who played the perp in Boulder
let me handle his AR-15.  Told me the ammo fires
at three times the speed of sound!  Man, just holding it
made me want to shoot someone.

Hold up, gotta check that text.  It’s them,
all right.  They want me down in Washington
again.  More Antifa bullshit.

Sunday, April 9, 2023


by David Josephsohn

the creaky warnings
of dry limbs
—slow reflexes


by Tom Lagasse

hiding in grasses
the peepers announce it’s spring
the pond warms and trembles

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Dawn Delicious

by Radomir Vojtech Luza

Tiger flashing
Across bubble gum sky
Like witches lost in lies

Clouds like alabaster islands
Floating towards cobalt orb

Oaks like sentries
Guarding royal entries

Olive bushes near poppy meadows
Like raspberry rushes on happy willows

Opening the shimmering light
With comets, stars and a neon mars

Early hours embroidered in rain
Crimson flowers masked in shame

Sunday, April 2, 2023


by Lavana Kray

City suffocated by heatwaves and face masks. Early in the morning, already on the road, to the mountain, we get stuck in a traffic jam that pushed drivers out of their cars, yelling by the roadside. A few cyclists overtake us, some slow-moving sheep pass us by, while a cloud grows crane wings. I close my eyes and turn ambient music with rain sounds on, leaving my thoughts to wander barefoot in a glade of wild mint, birds, butterflies and ozone.

village on fire –
two storks chop up
the sky

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Definition in the face of an unnamed grief

 by Deborah A. Bennett 

to know it is to know your own hand
opening, to exhale to be bodiless
whether mad with joy or sorrow
steeped in vine or briars 
all reason glows in simplicity 
the world is out of your eyes
it is always june & you are walking
in the cool of the day
hearing its name in the wind
in the root light sings, laughter
breaks in its stems, fills the
petal folds with music old as sun
& dew & summer
in the heart makes flesh of heaven
spirit of earth
in the head tangles round & waits
in the mouth blossoms with thorns
& with leaves sweet & ripe
as an apricot 
broken open.

Sunday, March 26, 2023


by  C.X. Turner

full worm moon plucked from the soil


by Chen-ou Liu

algae blooms ...
beneath the surface
of his anger


by Maria Mathai

Ripples of wind
Shiver the leaves of a willow tree
Rain drops speckle wood


by Ulrike Narwani 

scorched hillside
ablaze, ablaze


by Hifsa Ashraf

April morning chill 
a bamboo partridge’s call
rippling the stream 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Monday, March 20, 2023


by  I.W.B.S. Sister Lou Ella Hickman

an old frog singing 
a flash of green startles 
winter now is over 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Through the Desert’s Eye
South Mountain, Phoenix

by David Chorlton         

The bones roll loosely underneath
a coyote’s skin, the spine a tangle
with his ribs and every limb
a lightness strong
enough to carry him where
he needs to go.
                           The ice has fallen
from the moon
and South Mountain warms
from a yawn to a smile.
                                             A fallen
saguaro is part memory
part earth, and asks
whether the coyote
was actually here, or turned
from fact to mystery
                                     when he stopped
looking left, right and inward.
There’s hidden chatter
in the mesquites and cholla
of mockingbirds and thrashers
seeking out the starting point
of spring.
               The sky is balanced
on the ridgeline. Each ascending trail
winds its way to where
nobody can follow except the hawk
with shadow
                       for a wingspan
who spirals into nothing
                                           and disappears
the way illusions do
when the Arizona desert blinks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023


by Ron Scully

upper Merrimack
the gull out of scent
of the Gulf of Maine


by Hifsa Ashraf

late winter afternoon 
slipping into the dust haze
a junglefowl’s crow

Sunday, March 12, 2023


by Douglas J. Lanzo

Mountain elk
graze snow-brushed grass
tilted antlered sky


by Michael Riedell   

bear creek valley—
three old cows corralled
in winter rain

Wednesday, March 8, 2023


by James Kangas

bedroom floor shadows
of two frigid legs walking
in windowed moonlight


by Carl Mayfield

footprints leading
to the sandstone cistern
filling with snow


by Chen-ou Liu

job interview
winter morning darkness 
at the bus stop

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Motus Plantis

by Moray McGowan

Indignant pines stare down the woodsman 
Shame him, till he hangs his yellow helmet on a branch 
And shuffles back to camp 
Wheat stalks cup their ears 
For the harvester’s throb 
Then blind the driver with a storm of phosphate dust 
Furtive carrots couple in the soil 
Their blissful misshapen children 
Send packaging robots into tantrums of despair 
Roses mourning their beheaded offspring 
Put away their pretty pastels for the nonce 
Their next dull blooms, unplucked, set seed 
Poodle-clipped privet grows steely stems 
Bouncing the shears back on their own cable 
Banish the bandaged gardener to a bench. 
Potatoes shrug off their mounded earth 
Greened, inedible, 
Sun-worshipping sprawlers on the soil 
Lettuces, though, throw themselves flat  
Overacting in their green doublets 
They let the slugs raze every last leaf 
Celery and rhubarb 
Sick, to their pale cores, of the blanching pot 
Up sticks in the early hours and hammer on the bedroom window  
And the lawn, the lawn! Aching for buttercups, 
Aching for clover, daisies, dandelions, 
It sends the mower slithering into the pond 
One night the pond too eats its own underseal 
Lily roots follow the seeping water 
Long-lost lovers reaching with blind fingertips for the earth  

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


 by Douglas J. Lanzo

sockeye salmon
steely-eyed resolve
spawning red, upstream

Tidal Flow

by Gary Beck

When I walk on the beach
I see the loneliness
of the Florida surfer,
who waits and waits
for the big wave
that never comes.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

bird: morning/evening

 by Ingrid Bruck

in the woods 
the robin's song 
cocooning dawn

on the shore 
a seagull’s silence
wrapping sunrise

early evening 
egrets wheel west
chasing sunlight 

blackbirds wing east 
racing darkness

Crow City

by Maureen Teresa McCarthy
Light shimmers
Shadows flare 
Ghostly ribbons
Beyond my window
Soaring wing to wing
Dark shining as night sky
Settling on bare trees
Plump rich winter berries
Close community
Stalking ground proud
Calls loud tossing heads
Stars in a dark eye
Young are tended
Old are not exiled
All ride the wind                                                                           
Murder of crows?
Unkindness of ravens?
Earthbound as we are
Strangers to each other
We name them so.           

Wednesday, February 22, 2023


by Chen-ou Liu

shelter entrance
under the snow moon
shards of glass glinting

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Rita Hayworth, The Dragon-Slayer
(Line from: Post-Modernism by James Galvin)

 by Ingrid Bruck

Cloud Dragon, you wake devils and bring doom.
“Rita Hayworth was taped to the bomb that fell on Hiroshima.”
Big Boy never asked, “Wanna be a destroyer?”
No, it’s, “Pretty Lady, come ride with me.”  

In the name of woman – I call you Monster. 
Fury poisons atoms, even water rebels. 
Ocean Shaker lifts a tsunami. 
Sky Thrasher hurls torrents of rain and floods. 
Strangler traps a catch in a riptide.
Ice Heart churns snow to an avalanche.
Desiccator sips rivers, lakes and streams to desert. 
Fire Breath charges inland on waves. 

Cloud-Lady shape-shifts and rides.
A stallion kicks a mare in the side, 
his hooves pound and drum her ribs, 
beat flesh like a drum skin.  
She cringes at each hollow blow, 
follows each crash and boom. 
Sorrow sings in drumbeat and flute, 
chant and cheramie echo,
rumble shakes the air, 
  vibration courses in raindrops
rivulets stream down her cheeks. 

She-Dragon blesses each day's gratitudes. 
Griefs, she limits hers to three:
one for each story-doll under her pillow,
they work out problems at night.  
Heavy sand lifts on gusts,
sharp edges shave off,
harsh notes sand down, recombine & sweeten. 

Witch. Bitch. Slut.
Life Force. Life Taker. Baby Maker. 
She forgives what she can’t control
but shears Solomon’s hair.
Rita Hayworth sleeps
with angels. 

Morning Drama
by Christi Kochifos Caceres

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Little Green Men

by Chris Butler
In metal stealth birds,
invisible to radar, sonar
and the naked eye,
unidentified flying objects
traveling at supersonic
speeds around the globe
before slowly touching down
in the town square,
emerging from a door,
backlit with bright lights,
metallic mushroom tops
upon their hairless heads
and camouflaged suits
with attached gas masks
and night vision goggle eyes,
with vests on their chests
impervious to bullets,
with weaponry
light years ahead of
the pitchforks and torches,
speaking some
language foreign
to the local townsfolk,
that have come to invade
and enslave your people
and claim your land
in the name
of their strange State.

Sunday, February 12, 2023


by Royal Rhodes

at first light
on top of the snowbank
a black feather


by Sarah das Gupta

silver birch bends
wren hops over
deep drifts


by Mona Bedi

calm sea--
a cormorant lazily
dries its wings

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Winter Hosanna

by Meg Freer
The usual dawn praise of life dances
at the horizon above the valley.
A saline seep flows down the hillside
into the brine spring.
Sun dogs scatter light from ice crystals,
diamond dust drifts until the colours
merge into white, a halo overhead,
rays skewed from horizontal.
The sun dogs move away from the halo,
day moves on in earnest. Deer walk
across the valley, up the other side,
and taste salt on their tongues.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Wednesday, February 1, 2023


by Bri Bruce

out to pasture
dawn frost


by Farah Ali

broken ice
floating downriver…
letting go


by C.X. Turner

the slow slide
across a frozen river
blues guitar

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Wild Swans At Island Park

by Bruce Morton

It is in winter they are most
Striking, white as the snow 
Set against the black water
Which will not freeze over.

Everything is framed in frozen
Branches and twigs brittle,
Furry with hoar frost coat.
They warm themselves there

Drifting in the stream fed
By hot springs, steam rising.
They have settled in, staid,
Regal in their curve and preen.

It is no wonder that they stay.
Should they now take wing
Belly and breast become ice
Bringing them fast to ground.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Cuckoo's song

by Ram Chandran

from morning
following me everywhere-
this cuckoo's song

a cuckoo's song
a distant cuckoo's song

banyan tree-
a cuckoo's song lengthens
through aerial roots

cuckoo's songs 
in sync with
monsoon rains

Sunday, January 22, 2023


by Joshua St. Claire

trash trucks
the clutter clatter
of capitalism


by Douglas J. Lanzo

pressed black tea
tannins of peat
stain sea bay


by Nancy Scott McBride

busy intersection-
sitting by the side of the road
LAZY BOY lounge chair

Saturday, January 21, 2023


by Chen-ou Liu

clean coal billboard ...
a fork-tongued thought 
darkens the night

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Excerpts from the Book of Suns

by Kevin Maus

1. There is no burn-out, only banquet.
2. Peace of mind is of horizon; waking and setting suns play upon this plain. We fulfill these
3. Banners of light filling the sea: God's army. Sentinels of light that burn in unfailing worship.
4. Look to it: the bared heart above is so much of the kingdom within.
5. There is an absence in beauty—this is calling home.
7. Omniscience is forgiveness.
8. Larger than any want so, larger than any despair.
9. To what do you genuflect? —92 million miles away is the altar to which I bow; which is but a
tabernacle to the true Host.
10. “Because it's there”, is the refrain in view of the mountain; so much better in view of a blade
of grass.
11. Let it roll, laughingly bright. Halos for holy fools.
12. It's alone like I am alone. In its remove it seems as though its face is turned, pondering
infinities—perhaps looking upon a sun of its own. But even with its face turned, its light is one
13. There is sleep in it, dream even. “Return to the source.” It is all just a wayfaring of return.
14. A bird on its perch brighter than all thought; an iris in which are outdone all worlds. Where
else do we look? Why else do we look?
15. Even at the lowest hour, light lays about like an indisputable wealth.
20. The sun wrecks like a sacrifice upon the sea everyday: a marveling emptiness that makes me
long for home.
24. It's there, it hasn't aged—unfolded from the velvet lining of my travel bag (blue-black-green
gun-oil velvet). I draw the charm forth anytime, to warm myself with it.
25. It's there despite me. It burns eras away like a traveler gazing into his night's fire. It stops
every mouth. It stops every mouth of Human Being: Thank God—the Silence: its most utopian
28. Energy enough to power a body til the end of the earth; or enough for a soul to carry it into
the dark.
29. Vigilant: I watching it, it watching me; and it alone is escaped to tell thee.
30. It smiles upon me, eliciting my own: a smile alike to that which comes when watching a
child who is free at play. With an ease it comes, with a knowing ease it comes over us.
31. My friend, always waiting where I know to find; with nothing said, we accompany each
other in the thought: there is a light up ahead.
33. It burns there on my cell wall—and none can see that which I stare at all day, gratitude
bleeding across my face. I'm unable to help them understand.
34. A light which the darkness cannot see. An irreducible flint to strike alive at anytime—
marking the dark with dendritic, firework bursts; putting holes in the false-backed abyss.
35. I can't take it with me, for it is already up ahead waiting for me.
36. Honeysuckle amber, skyward fall. Tending the fire—a mere watcher.
37. “Out there,” only those wishing to get to it say that it is. I know that it is here, and worship as
38. Bonfire of twilight. Dayend pyre to the genius of the sun. —It burns with the work of the
39. In the shooting gallery of the eye: here I love to endlessly fire into its glorious void.
40. The temple steps are time.
41. An ache of loneliness yet in its glory: the loneliness being the end it contains.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Route, Root

by Morouje Sherif

Davids’ in Providence, smothered in maple leaves.
Soaking in the rusted moonlight, probably eating an In-N-Out double cheeseburger.
Volcanic rust, the cold is in colour, sheltered.
The cannonballs in place of your eyeballs, I’m sure—
God, I should drop my torch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023


by John Grey

December twilight
stand of naked chestnut oaks
erased by darkness


by Phil Huffy

the old orchard
few apples
many memories


by Chen-ou Liu

late night walk home ...
the distance between me
and a stray

Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Belt of Venus

by Marisa Frasca

The Belt of Venus generously lifts
above the horizon just before sunrise,
the sky awash
in pearlescent-pink luster
at the bottom of every war.

In the presence of Earth’s unbroken curve,
the great blue heron feeds in the marsh
and whistler swans build nest bowls
of aquatic grasses and sledges
among the industrial pipes 
leaking at sunset.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

there are men i hate with the whole dark country of my heart

by Dan Leach

there are men i hate with the whole dark country of my heart
men like wolves for whom kindness smells like blood
men with souls like the ice at the bottom of the world
watch their mouths and wait for something true
all that spills out is grey hatred and falsehoods
the lowness of fools made brave over time
they crush bodies for money
they crush bodies for free
if you are civil with these men
they twist civility into labyrinths
if you go to war with these men
they say thank you 
then grind your children into dust

i got so weary I had to ask the holy ghost
what are we to do with such men
he said there is nothing to do
except to suffer and to dream 
he said you must suffer them until you see 
the old earth rolled up like a scroll
then you must carry that vision inside you like a secret
i asked if maybe there was some other door 
an exit kept hidden all these years
but the holy ghost said no
he said beware they are devils, these men 
and if you think you can escape them
then you know nothing about their reach
this is their empire and they cover it like the wind

Sunday, January 1, 2023

I want to focus on light,

by Susan Vespoli

not grief, not the gut clench that startles, 
shows up first in the solar plexus, 
then spreads to the heart and lungs to stifle
breath.    No.    I want to focus on the soft 

underbelly of birds, how they are cupped-palm-
sized,    feathered,    backlit by morning light, 
how the wings stretch and soar like Blue Angel 
jets above my head       if I remember to look up.