Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

With the Dark Touch of Global Warming
You Are Sentencing the Trees of Florida

I want to know exactly which tree.
Fungus-ridden sweet bay?
Beetle-riddled spruce? The ash borers’
hoards of ash-host trees? The Earth’s
warming Ocala wildfire trees? Chain-
sawn Osceola trees? Young, soft Pinus
elliotti pulp-to-be trees? Old-growth Pinus
palustrus trees reduce to clear-cut stumps?

Recite for me every genus & species
of extinction. Torreya taxifolia,
the blighted Apalachicolan yew?
Be explicit about mangrove trees of spiders,
and lysiloma trees of snails swallowed
whole in their forests as the peninsula
falls below rising oceans of salt.
Cypress, cedar, oak, palm, myrtle—
all the green tree people
in these blue latitudes drown,
sentenced to burial at sea.
Your darkness touches bottom.

                           with words from Chris Crittenden
The blood hole
in the white breast
is open to blue sky
& my brown eyes,
as the gull
of the gray back
& whiter breast
wields his yellow bill
to open another hole
in another murre,
another death for life.
Where are we on the map? the young girl asked her father
at rest stops on their family summer hegiras to the ocean.
All the while, the older brother prodded his calssic, nasty,
Are we there yet?
The girl cared less about destinations, so much less.  It
was the route that counted, names of towns, distances
between them, river ways & bridges.
So she was not surprised years later to be asking the
Tahoma's captain, Where are we on the chart? & Is there
a separate scroll for Grenvill Channel?  How did you
come by such patience to navigate whirlpools & eddies,
to navigate this vessel through the treachery of Queen
Charlotte Sound? More than three thousand miles & as
many years from childhood & boys despised like her
brother?  Why such urgency to get someplace?
The calm, deliberate pilot in his wheel house of trust
steers her toward a steady-paced place of further
Moored safely in Horsefly Cove on Green Inlet,
anchored, she lets herself go to his guiding hands at the
helm, knowing exactly where she would be on any
map, every chart, by land, at sea:  She could come home.
A seven-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had nearly 300 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies.  She has eight books to her credit, the newest of which are The Ice Decides:  Poems of Antarctica (Finishing Line Press) and Liberty's Vigil, The Occupy Anthology: 99 Poets among the 99%, which she co-edited for FootHills Publishing.  Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North.  Her Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber - The Contemporary West in 2012.  She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (  Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Poem by William G. Davies, Jr.

A Gush

A cigarette butt is lifted and somersaulted over the shoulder of the road in the wake of a speeding car, then another.
The butt as though a baton is handed over to a bridge where centrifugal forces are greatly diminished.
There, in warm grit against a sunny abutment the relay has seemingly ended until a fisherman peering over the side of the rail,
stubs the grit and butt into a drainage pipe and it, ahead of contrails of dust falls into the green water like the Gemini capsule.
The fisherman playfully spits after it but misses. Water spiders skitter about its sinking as if marking the spot until the fantail
of a catfish loosens the surface and all is sucked into the murk.

William G. Davies, Jr. has been happily married for 38 years and lives in a valley of birdsong and wildflowers. He has published in Jellyfish Whispers, The Cortland Review, The Wilderness House Review, The Blue Lyra Review and others. He eats PBJ sandwiches everyday for lunch!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Two Poems by Sarah Flint

Bracken Air
On a June morning
I swim in slow motion through thick bracken air
The day encircles me
Kissing me gently awake
Licking night sweat from my neck
Making me clean
Rousing me from dreams of midsummer
Chasing grass pollen from my eyes
Running its fingertips down my spine
Tasting the dew on my lips
On a June morning
I swim through thick bracken air
Moon Raker
Gold morning following Dorset curves to
An ozone breeze above a fallen beach.
Under the Diamond Slab
The sea snapped at my toes
I hugged the rock
And felt the warmth.
Gulls played in the wind,
Sea shell wings against a ceiling of
Blue blue.
I smelled sea on my tongue
And closed my eyes to see the view
Of walls and waves
And a beach that went on
A pearl moon hung in fullness
Over fish and chips
On our fingers and pink sketched sky.
I danced in moon shadow
And drowned in my feather bed
Sarah Flint has been trying to put words into good order for a while. Originally writing about all things green and horticultural she now has had success in the world of poetry and flash fiction. She has been runner up in the Scottish Mountaineering Council poetry competition for 2 years running and is a regular contributor to The Pygmy Giant.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Poems by Diane Webster


Weeping willow’s limbs
bow in saddened strands
reaching like a grieving mother
toward the separated leaves
lying lonely and wet on the lawn
glazed over by the passing storm
rumbling farther and farther away
like memories regressing
from now to childbirth.



One moment on mountain road
sparrows fly up and down
in front of the car’s grill
like dolphins leaping
before a ship’s bow
as I, the captain, navigate
wave after wave of washboard road
keeping eye on blue sky horizon.

Diane Webster, like a cat, enjoys gazing out a window to watch squirrels spiral up and down weeping willow branches, to watch sparrows and finches push and shove for the choicest eating spot on the bird feeders while junco ground feeders peck at the spillage, and to watch nothing while she daydreams. Diane's work has appeared in Conceit Magazine, The Rainbow Rose, Calliope and other literary magazines.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Three Poems by Jeffrey Park


The cock crows at sunrise – a novel idea.
Here it comes, round and yellow
and warmth-giving like a brand new space heater,
oh boy, the excitement of it all!

Not like yesterday or the day before,
not like tomorrow or next Wednesday.
Ah, to share in his exuberance! In fact, I crowed
at daybreak twice last week myself,

just to give it a go. Didn’t seem to work for me
though, like howling at the moon
or scuffing the smooth turf with my heels
or rolling over and over, just can’t quite manage

to scratch that itch with compulsive
animal behaviors. Think I’ll try
running circles around the porch light tonight.
See if maybe that does the trick.


She looks out onto a grey-green landscape,
all blocky structures and angular shadows

populated by small things that alternately
freeze and run for cover, and she gives voice

to new feelings, imaginings, itches that will
presently be scratched. In such a place and time

it’s good to be a predator, lovely to be alive,
lovely to be the object of communal fear.



Reflection on the rolling waves, looks
like an albatross flying backwards

fleeing upwells, chop, stray lobster pots,
reflection and shadow soaring on

in place, rising above the surface of
the sea, surging upwards like a fighter

jet, like a missile, set to explode into
a roiling school of high altitude sardines.

Baltimore native Jeffrey Park lives in Munich, Germany, where he works at a private secondary school and teaches business English to adults. His poems have appeared in Requiem, Deep Tissue, Danse Macabre, Crack the Spine, Right Hand Pointing and elsewhere, and his digital chapbook, Inorganic, has recently been published online by White Knuckle Press. Links to all of his published work can be found at

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Poem by Neelam Shah

Camping in the night.

By the whistling hallowing trees,

Blown by the subtle winds,

Stars shine ever so brightly across

The North sky.

The moon sneakily peeks in from the grey

Clouds, trying to shed his share of

Light onto the land.

Surrounded by the blazing fire on simple wood,

A group of friends partake in giggles,

Burn marshmallows, gather

Warmth and smiles on a chilly


Hours go by, the wolf howls,

The sounds of zips are heard

closing ever so quietly.

All is silent, only five blue

Tents are seen.

The camp side fire is blown out.
Neelam Shah is a second year International Relations with Media Cultural Studies student at Kingston University.
She is passionate about creative writing, Journalism, writing and research.
Her hobbies include blogging, reading, photography, traveling, volunteering, visiting museums and exhibitions and playing badminton.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Poem by James Owens

late in the year

shelterless bird song
floats through rain,
darkens clouds
still, you can find me
the dandelions I dedicated to you
shine in wet grass
like young girls, one after another,
trembling --
each skittish tree
lights and rustles
under the sky’s
reckless caress
still in the mind of the beloved
the leaf is trembling
green on the black branch
even after
this sky swallowed
the winter wind
James Owens divides his time between Wabash, Ind., and Northern Ontario. Two books of his poems have been published: An Hour is the Doorway (Black Lawrence Press) and Frost Lights a Thin Flame (Mayapple Press). His poems, reviews, translations, and photographs have appeared widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Cortland Review, The Cresset, Poetry Ireland, and The Chaffey Review. He blogs at

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Three Poems by Miki Byrne

Winter Wind
The wind has ice threaded through it.
Gives it bones. Spindle fingers.
With which to scrape and sting.
It will poke your eye.
Probe beneath coat cuff and skin.
Snatch your breath in a gnarled fist.
Pluck at scarf and hat.
For such a skinny entity,
it has a large and irritating power.
The Road to Ashleworth
The afternoon is a grey taste of autumn.
A cold-porridge, murky mouthful.
The hedgerows flare in golds and reds,
Glazed but not shining.
The road is dewy with moisture.
Mud streaks and clumps where tractors grumble by.
Wheels catapult great gobs of clay into the air.
The road to Ashleworth runs as a causeway
past lakes of standing water. Cloud patterns
reflect in them, subtle in shape and shade.
Across the fields stands a row of stark trees.
Tall-almost leafless. Great clumps of mistletoe cling.
Leafy starbursts tucked into ragged branches.
The old tithe barn rears huge and sturdy,
its door agape upon a cavernous silence. Rain falls.
Slow at first-like summers goodbye tears.
Then builds to melancholy curtains,
clawed by vagrant winds.
We turn with thoughts of homes’ warmth
and follow the road to Tewkesbury.  

Pearl Farm
Beyond the shore.
Beneath the undulating sweep of breakers.
In depths of fluid tones, green, grey and blue.
Lie a languid colony of Pteriiadea.
Rocked in the moon-tides rhythmic cradle.
Stroked by the pull and push of currents.
Then raised up for the insertion of grit.
Handled by men with ropey sinews
and blades held in their fists.
Who gently tease apart tight mollusc  mouths.
Open them briefly to the world of sun and wind.
Yet oysters repay this intrusion with generosity.
Work busily. Smother the irritant. Layer nacre
in fine films one upon the other and gather
precious moist secretions, to build iridescent moons.
The men return. Turn them over now and then.
Left to right and back, for symmetry.
To make a perfect sphere. A pearl grows.
Snugged within soft muscle. To lie like a pale eye
within in the closed lid of the oyster.
The colony sway gently against murmurous wire restraints.
Boxed in by strong mesh. Knitted with weed
that furls its green hair into the water. Once lifted,
the transmutation is viewed. A harvest of beauty gathered.
Sufficient to hang round elegant necks. To to lie like star-drops
on soft-skinned hands. Pearls. Brought to life
by the warmth of skin. Yet out at sea,
nothing shows but the heaving, incessant beauty, of waves.
Miki Byrne is the author of two poetry collections. She has had work included in over 120 poetry magazines and anthologies. She has won prizes for her poetry and has read on both Radio and TV and judged poetry competitions. She has a BA (Hons.) in 3D Design and a PGCE. Her new collection ‘Flying Through Houses’ will be available from Indigo Dreams Press in 2013. Miki is disabled and lives in Gloucestershire, England

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Three Poems by Serena Wilcox

Nocturnal Syllables

The body
turns tightly
under the shadow of trees,
the sky is lacerated
by lightning,
clouds withdraw slowly
there, a soft
crescent sickle
implanted in darkness
is surrounded by embers
of glinting

if you must die,
go quietly,
lie unchanging
swaddled in deep sleep,
death will die
a thousand times
before the end of the night,

this is what the wilderness looks like…


mist in the distance,
erases the trees, gray
they stand, like winged shadows,
veiled by something frail and forced
as a kiss on a wedding day


your leaves
like soft braids,
there, your frame freshly raped
by wind
half nude
thin, from a season of illness
your body is shifting
your limbs obsessing,
wanting to be touched
by something nonviolent,
something without hands
deep, your need to feel yourself,
there is a gallery of those
just like you
along the road
like prostitutes, adorned in the
colors of an emerging evening,
numerous, but extremely alone

Serena Wilcox has literary work published and/or forthcoming in Ann
Arbor Review, BlazeVox, Word Riot, Word for Word, Moon Milk Review,
and many other publications. Her first collection of poetry, Sacred
Parodies (Ziggurat Books International) was published in 2011. You can
find out more about her at

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Poem by Joe Vastano

Trace the hard
clarity of jagged bronze
peaks against
blue sky; fierce
patterns of volcanic
rock flaking
off in angular slabs and
roiling up the
mountain like a fossilized
fire.  Saguaro and cholla cling
like a green
rash spreading over
its deep-lined skin.  Sand
lifts off in a dark
sheet.  Life
must be diligently
searched for
here and
is usually found one
of  thirst at a time.  Life
has been made
weird here. 
Its head horned, its
skin hard and
scaly, its ears
and eyes gigantic, its
feet fast
Joe Vastano started writing at sixteen. He traced Jim Morrison to Kerouac and Rimbaud, took them at their words and deranged his senses on the road for twenty years. Now he's sorting through it all.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Poems by Michael Estabrook


A garter snake fatter around than most rests

like a lazy dinosaur

on the warm rocks alongside the front walk.

I'm surprised when my wife

asks me to catch him

and let him go in her flower garden.

“But he's a snake,” I say.

“Yes,” she says,

“and I want him in my garden

to get rid of the moles and mice.” I smile.

“He will get rid of the moles and mice won't he?”

I smile again, “Why of course, honey.”

Though I know he's too small for that

I simply cannot resist the temptation

of putting a snake back

into the Garden at the request of a Woman.

sea urchin spines

The landscape alongside the highway

is frozen white

broken splintered trunks of trees and stumps

poking from the frozen-over lake like

sea urchin spines.

I’ve left work to take a drive,

couldn’t stand being inside one moment longer,

needed some air, some sun.

Even a solitary drive

along the highway is better than

being stuck inside,

my face in the dirty computer screen,

fingers clicking across the keyboard

like sea urchin spines sticking into my soul.

Kettling of Hawks

Grainy-textured turquoise hue like a dying flame

scrapes at my white and dusty collar bones,

and at the base of my thick skull, scrapes

until my flesh is pink again,

dream-like streaks tug at my soul

or perhaps it’s my psyche, I frequently confuse

the two, then my wife speaks, cracks open,

like cracking open a pink lobster, my revere –

“One of the birdwatchers on the mountain today

lent us his binoculars so we could see

the hawks kettling, rising up over the trees

where the tree-line ropes off the horizon,

and it was an amazing sight to witness.

Have you ever heard of kettling before?”

“Well no,” I say, and while I’m uncertain

if it is a correct term it sounds good,

sounds poetic – a kettling of hawks, as it turns out,

is a gathering of hawks flying together

in a flock, rising and swooping,

sometimes lazy, other times intense,

and as the hawks flew, pumping their wings

then gliding, through my psyche, or maybe

my soul, they caused

the scraping to cease for a time

in the dusk before nightfall,

and that made me feel good

for the first time that day.
Michael Estabrook is a baby boomer who began getting his poetry published in the late 1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “When the Muse Speaks.” His interests include history, art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who just happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Poems by Susan Dale

Reincarnated from Macbeth’s witches
Three seagulls with hooked beaks
Beady eyes and clone feet
Hover together for warmth
On the frozen lake.
With gray wings of triumph,
Another seagull, aloft and soaring
Catches a chattering wind
To hang suspended
In skies of aqua dreams
Where stretch the clouds
Of ghost feathers
And the strains of a pale, winter sun.
Violent waves frozen
as they crest and crash
into foamy moors that heave and fall
And stretch towards far-off horizons.
January 2
I heard a phantom wind
whistling in treetops
lost in the milky mists
of a twilight that floats
through parchment skies
hanging heavy
with tissue-paper clouds
drop raindrops
of gossamer glass
on the moon that nods in passing
to a pale sun
sinking in silver skies
To meet silver waters below
February 5, ‘07
Steps of twilight
Down to the cellar of night
Silent, dark, starless
With weightless dreams
Spinning inside of me
In webs of silk
To fill dawn with taboos
And vapors of fears
Daybreak painting over morning
With colors of long snow
And solace with warm arms
A vaulted ceiling - afternoon
soaring above the walls
of white-plaster snow
Susan’s poems and fiction are on Eastown Fiction, Tryst 3, Word Salad, Pens On Fire, Ken *Again, Hackwriters, Feathered Flounder, and Penwood Review. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Poem by Louis Marvin


                   They say ssshhhhhhh, constantly quieting on the shore

                             White noise elite,
                                                among all white noise

                             A thousand hellos wash ashore-----
                                      Strong, happy alohas

                                                          Crash the beach,
                                                                   Crash the party

                             They stay a few seconds,
                                                Cry tears into the sand
                             Then meekly and weakly
                                      Say aloha-goodbye
                   That same wave will never be back again

louis marvin is a wandering island wizard on the shore, in the mountain jungle and swimming at the reef
blessed by this tropical island and scorched by desert sun
friend of the gecko, roadrunner and gila monster

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Poem by Michael K. Gause

River Lesson

You do not understand
You have been called

Drawn by how she moves
What's inside

The history of the world rises to ripples
Coming to rest where you stand

Each wave a catch and release
Past and future in a rhythm of ends

Their frequency, the distance between what you believe
What the world has known all along

But in truth the river teaches best
In what she withholds

Lets us do in ourselves

Michael K. Gause lives, writes, laughs, and loves in Minnesota. His website is

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Poem by Tamara Simpson

Sonnet 10 “Ode for the Moon”

O moon, that hangs suspended in the night,

So eerily half-shadowed by the clouds

Vague shadows drifting ‘cross your face of light;

Police night-birds making their airy rounds.

White-feathered wings spread wide across your orb;

Keen eyes reflect the pin-point of the stars,

And I am lost within the night’s absorb.

The note that rings - the wild goose-call - jars

The senses, ‘til I crouch down here in awe,

And wonder how all other men don’t kneel

In marvel to the moon I so adore.

Jewel of arresting beauty, lustrous wheel!

As Earth will turn, in form so too will thee;

Your pull commands the tides of man and sea.
Tamara Simpson is a student at the University of Western Australia studying music and science. She spends most of her time reading and writing poetry and fiction when she should be studying. She has had previous work published in Everyday Poets Magazine, the Open Minds Magazine, the Road Not Taken Journal of Formal Poetry and Umbra Magazine.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Poem by Joan McNerney

Hudson River Memories

I Beginnings

Blue rivers curl over
green grass.
Soft rain and shy winds
combing my hair.

Where was I before
time was born?
My mind tumbles
through memories.

Thick fog smudges
Horns of ships and
rumble from trains
emptying into evening.

When shadows fall,
I explore silvery slips of sleep.
Hudson River glowing
in empty fields.
Dreams of river beds.

II Shadow Boxing

All day long heat
circles Hudson River.
Finally the sun sinks
to its watery chamber.

I want that fiery ring
the sun.
That is what I must have.

Pulled by currents
I buffet waves...
kicking up oozing mud.

Each day after day
treading water.
trains of thought
within tracks of time.

Falling through golden circles
among black velvet moans.

III Eventide

Trees gather in
fragrant rainbows.
Gardens growing
bright vegetables.
Orchards become
sweet with fruits.

I wander through
warm hugs of day
and meet you there.

This much is certain.
Nothing is worth
more than love.
There is never
enough time for love.

We hide memories
in Hudson River banks.
Memories of our time together.

IV Passageway

There is always time.
Always time is there.

I am alone and
possess nothing.
Nothing can be lost
everything is borrowed.

Unraveling thoughts...
thoughts so airy,
as if I could fly.

Fly like magic
hanging a star
over the Hudson River.

No longer seeing
where sky begins
and rivers end.
Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon Books on Blog, Blueline, Vine Leaves, Spectrum, and three Bright Spring Press Anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses. She has recited her work at the National Arts Club, New York City, State University of New York, Oneonta, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio and other distinguished venues. A recent reading was sponsored by the American Academy of Poetry. Her latest title is Having Lunch with the Sky, A.P.D. Press, Albany, New York.