Sunday, May 27, 2018

Two Poems by Greg Schmult


She appears of a morning sudden
each brittle early autumn with
October just becoming ragged; away
but returned to country to assert
as absolute her right of harvest.

Sulfur-on-jet leviathan
a bloated black pearl with a saffron tiara
arrayed with little pomp between
nodding, pliant racemes of Solidago
a thread-throned queen in goldenrod

the ebony of her waiting suspended
like a jeweled obsidian dewdrop from
the arching, nighttime scaffold of her legs
and her pike-footed purchase of dew-
glittered radii, afloat on the filament vantage
of an undulating great room floor.

Resplendent, briefly, but with each offering
she comes in a relentless rush, pinfooting
like a twilight avalanche
and when the meadow has made its tithe for days
the floor is grown cluttered and tatty
like an over-furnished, moldering room
draped over for the coming winter.

Her consort, a king in name, a tenth
the size and maybe smaller, watches
sidewise at the edge of silk, crouches rigid
timorous and tense, a chitinous afterthought
with a dab of color.

As autumn deepens, lesser crops
are eschewed for larger meat:  preyed upon
mantises, once bulb-eyed and stilting
green and angle-plated, now smooth
and elliptical, white and hammock-slung.

They trampled miniature worlds in early morning
splay-legged raiders stalking the stem tops
frantic ahead of them
a prow-wake scattering of life, but now
slow netted pirouettes
breeze danced and downward, submissive
in their dusty finery.

Autumn narrows to a stipple of purple asters
and browning blades of bluestem
and she abides as the field goes cool and sluggish

ever more quiescent, waiting
on noontime sun
accepting what is given, but
acknowledging no obeisance.


My father took me fishing summers
in a dented silver rowboat
and we bottom-rigged for bullhead
with worms on Cedar Lake.

He would pull and creak the locks
and I would twist and lean and peer
beside the rasping bow that creased
the open pads of lily and lotus, above

arthritic stems gnarling away the light
and I wanted to climb them down like Jack
Pull myself toward leviathan
shadows nosing the lakebed past
slanted hulks of broken boats
half astern in mud.

At anchor, the leaden teardrop sinker cored
the water's slab, dingy with suspended murk
poplar fluff and flaccid husks of damsel flies
then burrowed through the fleshy stems
of Elodia and coontail, found the pliant floor
and footed hard

the crawler, pierced, self-braiding
to a turgid knot, pulsing
in an unseen plume of silt, imagined all
as if the sinker was a scoping camera
threaded on a slender flexing wire.

He taught me to cast and wait and how
a calloused leather work glove shielded
hands and fingers from
the mudcat's painful spines
and how rusted needle pliers disgorged
a swallowed hook, which they did often
inhaling with their wide, disconsolate mouths

not so much a strike as stealing and trying
to carry an air bubble unbroken, and you might
miss it altogether if you were nodding
the filament line barely splicing

the lazy, green-shot surface
becoming slowly implacable as
the rod-tip finally bent and then

they would go heavy with the dimness
as there might yet be some deep brute beneath
a creature sea-born, out of place and past its time
and only for me

because the waters of the world hide
their worlds from all of us personally, each
according to a need, and from children
most of all.

Easing them, so weighty and impassive
up the dark was an act not of muscle and sight
but of invisibility not yet failed
before the barbels and the saddened snout
emerged like everything I did not yet know
but still wanted to.

Greg Schmult lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he works as an environmental consultant.  His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Hanging Loose, Iodine, Poetry Quarterly, Spillway, and The Main Street Rag.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Poem by Robert Halleck


You were
in the shower
so I walked to
the beach.

Warm breeze,
cumulus clouds,
blue skies,
5759 steps.

Robert Halleck is a retired banker living in Del Mar, California with his muse Della Janis.  He has been writing poetry for over 50 years and has published three collections of his work.  He has appeared in a number of Kind of a Hurricane Press publications.  His recent work has appeared or will appear in The San Diego Poetry Annual, The Patterson Review, Third Wednesday, Chiron, Halcyon Days, and Rusty Truck.  He has a weakness for open mics and loves to race Thor, his old but sturdy Porsche.  He will be attending Kenyon College's summer program for the second year during the July session.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Three Poems by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

Wooden Path

The shady wooden path
has opened for me,
the red sorrel blushing
in the growing light,
and I am free in a world
where no one can rob
me of anything, my heart
exalting at the sweet bevies
of fern and bayberry threading
their way, and round-faced
roses smiling up at me.
A cool sun is up ahead as
far as my eyes can see,
my spirit brimful with
the cardinal's song; no trace
of anyone's malice, only
the restful peace of nature's
balm, touched by the angelic
softness of blue delphiniums.
Before me butterflies pause
in their dance, white single
poppies warming their petals
are befriending me.  I could
walk barefoot all day here,
terracotta hickories on
either side of me, blessed
to be so far away from
any ill wind, sheltered by
flushed apple trees.  No one,
no living thing knows where
I am, just mariposa lilies
gleaning the sky's brightness
with me.

Nature's Wellness

Rainbow water came
spilling down the edge
of a fountain reviving
my senses, lavender
healing my spirant breath,
a lace of jasmine around
my wrist, a gift from an
angel who cared, knew
I needed wellness only
a sachet of lady's slipper
could bring, a gentle dose
of mimosa to sponge onto
my skin so my heart brittle
with tension will be still,
the aroma of white blossom
to calm me and free me.
restore my mind with the
violet petals of a crocus,
extract their loving energy.
I sleep on a pillow of blue,
pale rises, lost in the world
before I am woken, cleansed
in the tranquil night, my faith
in this loveliest of flowers.

Magenta Sunset

My heart firm as the green
calyx, I bravely, at first
shyly, walk by the ethereal
blueness of magnolia trees,
the deep purplish red sunset
having woken the resilient
light inside of me.  Quietly,
with the sweet scent of rose
petals so close to my skin,
I let joy find its way in,
clear barley water having
soothed me as if I were
at the hands of a lover.
I could breathe my whole
soul in the hybrid of violet
and yellow blossom, find
myself melting, stroked
by God's graceful touch
and all the love he pours
into the earth.  I quiver in
pleasure at the last notes
of a grey sparrow lingering
in the air like a plaintive
sigh, seal in the well of
my memories the apricot
honey of poppies.

Bobbi Sinha-Morey writes poetry in the morning and at night, always at her leisure.  Her poetry has appeared in a wide variety of places such as Plainsongs, Pirene's Fountain, Helix Magazine, Toasted Cheese, Delphinium, Miller's Pond, and Spirit Fire Review.  Her books of poetry are available at and her work has been nominated for Best of the Net.  She loves aerobics, knitting, reading, and rock hounding with her husband.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Three Poems by JD DeHart


We take the branch
to preserve the bit
of forest we have known.

A specimen in a jar
for some, the mantis
husk, insect artwork.

The woodlands are in
us, memories of paths
not yet cleared.

Our feet would stomp
patterns into the tall
grasses, new predators.

Clear as the Ice

Winter has continued
in our northern world.
We tunnel out
of days of icy captivity.

A fine shining surface
has settled on the universe,
a preserving casement
of frigid whisper.

When white pristine
layers swept in, we learned
the beauty of kerosene
heaters and living without
convenient energies.

Bandage the Broken Limb

I wove a tourniquet
for the wounded branch,
snapped wildly
by a passing creature.

The forest merely
laughed at me, twittering
with ancient sound,
unseen insect noises.

I've been here a thousand
years, you a mere
century at most.  Bind
your broken self, she said.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He blogs about books at

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Three Poems by KB Ballentine

Blossoms, Laced with Snow

Marooned in shadows of frost,
dogwoods blush with bloom.
The bluebird's throat unrusts,
song spinning across the dawn,
pouring through forsythia branches
tipped with gold.

Tufts of daffodils spark the yard.
Like a whirling compass needle,
Spring's gift, chased by snow clouds,
blend into sullen shadows.
Crocus and violet taste the brittle air,
hide their buds in crumpled leaf scatter.

Soon this white weight, winter's last song,
with sigh under the sun, days lengthening,
hopeful and warm.

Written in Water

          -- Connemara, Ireland

Taste the ocean on your lips.
Wind scorns the sun, tosses
your hair till you can't see,
can only feel June's raw bite.
Foxglove curves on the cliffs,
purple bells summoning the dawn.
Moss dimples, water faeries
flirting in the spray.

Here, in the half-light, shadows dust
the stones and highlight fussing gulls,
conceal the rooks, their cawing demands.
Breathe the salt, the Burren
gray and hazy across the bay.
You can't remember the last time
you cried for beauty.

Two boys and a girl plunge onto the sand,
chase clouds, kelp that laces the shore.
Sprites vanish into tidal pools,
wind frothing the waves.  Sun whispers
across the gathering blue, plovers
hopping in and out of the surf.
Rush and foam calling, calling.

Until the Raven Comes

The eye of the hummingbird delights
in bright, bold color--petals and stamens
of fuchsia, long throat of honeysuckle
to sneak, to tongue--beak parted,
devouring the solstice song of summer.

Sun and moon share this day,
gather the luster of the hummingbird's
wings, green shimmer pulsing the sky.

Wrens fold their melody into the wind.
Squirrels chuckle in the chestnut oak,
dashing above kayaks drifting
on the river's swell.  Downstream, dusk
crouches on the horizon.

KB Ballentine's fifth collection, Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, was published in 2017 by Middle Creek Publishing.  Two collections, The Perfume of Leaving and What Comes of Waiting, won the 2016 and 2013 Blue Light Press Book Awards.  Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017), Carrying the Branch:  Poets in Search of Peace (2017), In God's Hand (2017), and River of Earth and Sky:  Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015).  Learn more about KB Ballentine at

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Two Poems by Jo Simons


As the bowels of the earth opened up
on November 4th
spewing forth Satan's spawn,
the one constituent they couldn't buy,
Mother Earth, took notice.

As they strutted about,
bragging plans to further the rape of the planet
to fill their coffers with black and gaseous gold,
her back began to rise.

Mother Nature will not passively stand by.
Her wrath shows no mercy!
The acts of a few will drown us all in her fury.
Skyscraper-sized waves are heading our way.

Other parts of her precious earth will mercilessly fry
and turn to dust
forcing it's helpless, starving inhabitants
seeking refuge elsewhere to no avail.

Satan and friends can fume and fuss
but they are no match for the Queen,
a gently lady who loves beauty and peace
unless some fool thinks he can disrespect her.

Watch out.
She put up with our folly long enough
and now she wants her planet back.
It's probably too late for us.
Satan, I suggest you offer her roses.

A New (old) World

Trees are talking
amongst themselves
in their secret Barksap language.

They have received messages
via tree-mail from
their cousins, aunts and uncles
across the globe.

The time has arrived--
on April 1, 2012
they will all lift their
roots from the ground
and stampede.
They've had enough!

We clueless humans
who think we know it all
as we disrespect nature everyday
foolishly thinking we're
superior to all other species
are in for a big shock.

Nothing is safe from
the tsunami of trees
lumbering together in
search of the world
they had before humans
took control of the planet
and began the destruction.

And once the global woods have
completed their journey
crushing the unnatural
world in their wake,
eradicating the souls who were
listening to the wrong rhythms,
they will return to their new (old) world
and begin again.

This time wiser, more cautious,
more protective to crush alien beings
who might once more start up a
colony not seeing or hearing truth.

Jo Simons is a piano and Music Together teacher in Madison, WI.  She is also a first-time author of a biography of her musical parents, My Father Wakes Up Laughing.   She started writing poetry in 2011 when her 94-year-old father announced his life was over.  He's still here and is the oldest orchestra conductor in the world.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Three Poems by Michael Keshigian

The Earth Within

We awoke in light,
wriggling in palm
of a muddy hand,
divided into portions
under a stone,
we were the life
that delighted the sun
as we edged toward an empty cave.
Heaven rinsed us with a sigh
and set afloat
the Earth in our veins.
Behind our eyes
loomed the ocean,
beneath our fingernails
vegetables slept,
between our toes
hovered the path of discovery,
a model universe floated
undiscovered in our brain.
The great plates trembled
and the chatter of teeth
shattered the ensuing silence,
glacial ice masses cracked
and the capillaries of vision
slid into a sea of fascination,
a body born
under sunlight, in sand,
saturated with rain,
blossomed skyward
to propagate the world.


Let love be written
upon the water of calm lakes
not upon rivers running.

Let it be written by a loon
while singing a lamentable verse
amid the hidden coves.

And when it dives gracefully
beneath the blue surface,
leaving only echoes of song,

placid water will condense
to provide
some needed rainfall.


From early morn till death of sun
in a watery maze, we pierced
waves with pointed bow,
the hostile undulation lurched
relentlessly in our path,
punishing us with overspray.
There was no comfort this day,
riding the salty froth,
its anger tested our skill
in concert with wind and water,
it logged our skin like sodden earth.
The merciless oscillation foamed
a curdled white atop a green tint
that mixed with the sediment below,
bucking beneath the boat
like a stallion, deep and dense,
and we were frightened,
afraid to loft as a momentary sail
then dive headlong through the wind
into to percolating cauldron
full of seaweed and shells,
sinking like stones through translucent layers,
till we rested upon a reef.
But luck this day rested
beneath our brackish shoes
when the deck steadied
as the slickened skipper brought the rig about
to deflate the shredded wings
that flapped erratically upon broken masts
in the errant wind and suddenly
the sea surrendered, the toppling ton of waves
ceased their urgent assault,
the wind lost its breath.
We floated dazed till darkness,
mute, white, upon the cusp of lethargy
till shoreline lights blinked welcome
and we flirted with the notion of sanctuary.

Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, had his twelfth poetry collection, Into the Light, released in April 2017 by Flutter Press.  He has been published in numerous national and international journals including Oyez Review, Red River Review, Sierra Nevada College Review, Oklahoma Review, Chiron Review and has appeared as feature writer in over a twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best of the Net nominations.  (