I turn slowly, darkly
longing for light
to warm my face
with its old memories.
They are the fallen leaves,
that lie in wait
for a breeze
to uncover their burnished undersides,
holding on tight
to dreams of flying.
by: Adele Steiner Brown
Our ring of fire dream
enters for an encore placid
like a miracle, like a genius
finally seeing the error of her
idiosyncratic ways and alleys
leading down the throat and who
will break this stone three times for
necromancy by the sweet
light of days -- I am dazed
by what you might call
streamlet, apostasy, coriander --
pale green in the moonlight and
there's a horse coming
for us again because we have
what we wanted: igneous
walkways where we lie down wrapped
in a ring like
a ring of fire,
in vines that died before
we opened our eyes.
by: Dana Curtis
You are no raven.
Dark- eyed, you hold an unnamed wisdom, gleaning
your feast from growth and decay,
from beginnings and endings.
I wonder at your blackness,
at the unending night.
There you are at the roadside, fearless and persistent,
daring death as you dine on death itself.
There’s your coarse song,
the caw caw from the parking lot at dawn,
urgent, terse, effective.
You mean what you say,
but what do you know
that I must learn?
Prudent scavenger, old inelegant thing,
teach me to cull the grace of contradiction,
to gather what lacks acceptance, to dine alone gratefully
when manner expects a flock.
Teach me, old crow,
to sit calm near racing traffic.
by: Christa Gahlman
April Foolís Day
Late this afternoon the wind
gets its second gust of wind
so that the unzipped jackets of passers by
billow & pulse, as the branches of barren sycamores
crane like tattle-tales. Out back
the metal garbage cans relieved of duty wrestle
in stray-dog play. Tomorrow or the next day or the next
buds will appear & the first crocuses will push through . . . .
Then parties I won’t be invited to will light up
a neighbor’s yard
& I’ll shrug the way I’ve mastered.
Thus, all the slights of spring will blossom again.
Sparrows & robins will arrive with their luggage of song.
Then jays & grackles all boisterous, bullying–
they carry the threat of summer on their thin shoulders.
by: Gerry LaFemina
Seascape by Storm Light
Some days when the cloud scurry slurs almost to wavetop,
The wind reveals itself in the rustle of seagrape
And the discombobulation of palm fronds,
And the last stubborn swimmers flap
Out beach towels and hurry
Children into cars,
I walk the curve
Of beach, marled and foaming surf sucking
My shoes, the wind inflating my clothes
Like a balloon, alone and tethered
To this world only by gravity.
Then the last laughing gull vanishes from the corner
Of my eye, a final ghost crab blinks
Into the sand, blue shards of sky fade from
Opaque tidal pools,
And I confront the Gulf, empty but for humped swells
Building for their rush
Upon the narrow island
And the strands of sea oats anchoring
The dunes that lap toward the chine
Of wind-gnarled pines.
Head-down and hands pocketed is perhaps
The proper posture for a solitary sea-walker,
To kick the occasional beer can
Discarded among the impressions of bodies
In the abandoned sand,
To turn my back on the three-foot shark
Cut loose from the hook in its gut,
That washes back and forth in the undertow.
Then to be the last one out, an evacuee, the gale rocking
My Jeep and rippling sand
Like veils of smoke
Over the asphalt ribbon
That seems to flutter under the tires,
As I head for the bridge that hurls its white arc
At the green smudge of mainland.
by: Rick Lott
Spring is weeks
Late, and though
We’re sure the season
The air is uneasy.
Storm drains drown
In muddy water.
In the gray wind,
And trees shake
Like tiny fists
That will open
To summer heat,
For the ground.
by: Rick Lott
Summerís Honey Breath
The kitchen faucet drips like a water clock
ticking off the wet, gray minutes.
Sweet gums along the fence have blackened
with rain, their star-leaves gone yellow
as the slumberous hours of summer.
I recall pollen-laden light that hushed
the fields, horses plunging muzzles
in clover, and cattle standing belly-deep
in alfalfa; the air was sweet with privet.
That spring a girl had mingled her clothes
with mine in a small bedroom closet.
All summer long we shielded our eyes
from the future. We lazed by the pool
and played softball in the park.
We danced to the radio as moths battered
the window screen, and the lamp threw
oblongs of yellow light on the lawn.
Then, in July the house began to smell,
incredibly, of honey. We erupted
in amazed laughter when an amber tear
materialized on my cheek.
Bees had hived in the ceiling,
bringing all the sweetness of summer
and concentrating it in dark combs.
Some wag dubbed us The Honeymooners,
but the goo accumulating in the carpet
was no laughing matter: we quarrelled
when she objected to my spraying the attic.
Whose idea was it to call a beekeeper?
A khaki man in a straw hat,
he descended from the attic
with the queen bee caged in a cedar box.
The hive soon departed, leaving the aroma
of honey to linger through the rainy autumn.
by: Rick Lott
for Grace Cavalieri
so like a cucumber
at that point
where grace hovers
a knife poised
to bless to taste
by: Greg McBride
A long scrape of tines.
There. A clump of maple
twigs, myrtle berries,
sweet gum ball seeds
left from last fall.
Life is on the move;
time to rake the dead
out of its way.
by: Greg McBride
So, the Song of Songs
first accompanied a dance—
a dance for the corn harvest,
between runnels and bonfires,
a carefree dance
ending in cozy tents for two,
pitched with leafy twigs, and left open to the sky.
Oh the paynim
talked, I suppose—
in chirrups and barks, in melodic ripples
in droning hums
on starlit nights—
their quarreling ragged
as a rough sea
pounding a worried shore.
I doubt there was much difference
between laughter and talk.
Truth sat right down with them,
out in the open, heedless and bareheaded
not yet driven, herded,
toward heaven—and the word
by: Edwina Pendarvis
The Big Snow
Everyone seemed giddy.
The government shut down.
The storm was pouring it on the city,
muffling every sound.
Buxom with heavy tufts,
the evergreens were bent.
They looked as if they’d had enough
of fortune’s quaint descent.
The children were set free.
Each one found a sled.
Down the slopes of a cemetery
they screamed among the dead.
The homeless bundled up,
and slid their carts away.
Who knows to where they trundled off
to watch the weathers play?
While through the avenues
the tire tracks were filling,
the work force gone to watch the news
and cozy up that evening.
Except for those who galoshed
through city parks by chance,
who muttered to themselves, My gosh!
and praised the Lord of the Dance.
For tumbling the fluff descended,
Oh certainly choreographed!
A flake ballet they watched, again,
lightheaded, almost daft.
Made so by this visit
from the heavens to below,
although, despite the fact, albeit—
it was only snow.
by: Patric Pepper
Three Songs of the Southern Highlands
The trees store among their branches
boxes of light. In the wind,
the boxes shuffle,
singing the names of their shapes
in their half-known language.
I love how light is framed,
the pattern formed in the forest duff.
I catch it in my open palms,
siphon of the sun.
A whole ambit of green:
hickory, butternut, hornbeam,
post oak, slippery elm,
hawthorn, painted buckeye,
sourwood. The panicle
of each branch reaches out
green hands. I am a huntress
among the birl
of broad vowels, the nasal tones
of mountain people
who live their lives on the cant,
wrapped in cloud.
I hunt for words that bottle
green, green, and green.
Cicadas rock the woods each night
in a great buzzing wave,
an orchestra of one repeated note.
Their high-pitched keening
combs the hoarse air.
I would whine too, if I had wings.
I’d lose myself among their kerf
and spall, and look up
at a thousand chamfered stars.
by: Kim Roberts
Canyon de Chelly
Sometimes we got there first
but usually the other car did,
and perched at the corner
nearest the trail, so we were locked
in a two-step with this other
tourist couple, dutifully
following the park road,
reading all the historic signs,
reading all the nature signs,
never missing a designated
trail or scenic pullout.
Designed for summer crowds,
those empty parking lots
were comically huge,
with their painted arrows,
the echoing chambers
of their Comfort Stations.
We were tired.
We'd been on the road
two weeks, our eyes filled
with scenic views, near
the end of our journey.
The other couple was fighting
and we had to hear it, the exposed
rasp of his annoyance,
the high whine of her need.
And so the russets and vermillions
of the sheer cliff face
became his anger,
the intricate petroglyphs
became her hurt, and the small huts
of the historic Navajo village
far down below began to feel
trapped by the afternoon's
widening shadow, and we
couldn't shake them,
lingering along the trail,
or reading the signs and racing ahead,
they were still there,
in their sad brown
Lincoln Continental, exploring
the Canyon of Interpersonal Skills
under the famous open skies
of the great American Southwest.
by: Kim Roberts
The hip hop birds of Petworth
build metal nests. The echo
schools their chicks
a thumping beat box rhythm.
Wedged onto rooftops, utility poles,
metal nests flash like bling,
like swank. I come home
and find more wrens tearing out
strips from my window screens.
I pound on the glass--but it's no use.
They've trashed every screen
on the back side of my house,
these tough urban punks,
all phat chainz and grillz,
the hip hop birds of Petworth.
by: Kim Roberts