Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Poems by Emily Strauss

One Hundredth Meridian
Where the West begins:
mountain slope frontier
where the tall grasses end,
the first rise of red maples
after the treeless death plains
they walked through for
months losing cows and
children, the old and weak
and inland there is no beginning
or end
there is only light, dust and red
rock in endless mazes
invisible rivers below,
wooden fences wavering
into a heat-warped distance
the center of the West
doesn't know its boundaries--
cold deep waters
      warm shallow seas
                  the small creeks draining
                  the bluffs eastward.
Where the West ends:
at the ocean's lip scattered
with driftwood, sheer cliffs
brooks alkaline from the redwoods'
roots hiding under sword ferns
and alders in the dim mists,
sea stacks and natural bridges
elephant seals sleeping
in a bright sun, dried kelp
before a deep canyon in the bay,
harbors facing only toward sunset
the sand reflecting a setting moon
leading off the edge of the earth.
Redwood Summer
We climb from the ridge
over 1600 feet down
into the redwood canyon
to the stream still flowing
in late summer
down to the cool ferns, the last
columbines and larkspurs
beside the pools in deep shade
through the mid-day glare,
heat eddies redolent of native
square-stemmed mint, past
Pearly Everlasting like warm
honey swirling around our feet
then back up
laboring as we transcend
the same redwoods
back into the sun, marching
slowly past dusty oaks now
spider webs caught among dry
leaves, sweating, breathing
carefully, sips of tepid water
not counting the steps, dirt
lifting at each foot fall, we
ignore everything now, just
The Wind Hits
The wind hits in tight fists
like a boxer, circling, quiet
then suddenly striking from
the north, now the east
it fools me when I set a cup
down, unfold a chair
it doesn't like cups--
that's in the bush--
or chairs-- that's knocked
flat, or dish towels drying
or wash basins-- the soapy
water flies into my lap.
If I were more patient
I could out-wit the wind
dodge its icy punches
eat warm food, watch
the full moon rise over
the dark desert. Instead
I retreat, let the gusts bow
my tent like an accordion
a cold bellows, not for fire
but a sub-zero night.
I wear four layers to sleep
and hope for daylight.
Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 100 of her poems appear in dozens of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Poem by Deborah Guzzi

A Stream of Laughter

The sunlit water frolics
over a stone-strewn base.
Chattering waters,
playfully tumbling like children
on a high hill, rolling down.

Both translucent and opaque
the blue and greens magnified
by reflection and refraction,
the silky wetness laves the colored stone,
beginning where,
ending where
I am not to know.

High mountain waters
strained of impurities by crystalline sand
purveyor of bountiful imaginings,
leave boats with twig masts
brilliant red-purple beetles
floating like lost sailors.

The sunlit waters dance
smile breeders
laughter seekers
The water falls

Deborah Guzzi was first published at the age of sixteen, she has continued writing for the past fifty years. She as been published in the literary journals of Western Connecticut University and self- published two illustrated volumes of poetry, The Healing Heart and Heaven and Hell In A Nutshell. At the present, she write articles for Massage and Aroma Therapy Magazines. Since 2003 she has traveled to Nepal, China, Japan, Egypt and Peru. I was studying in Nepal during the last civil war and was in Egypt two weeks before the Arab spring uprising which over threw Hosni Mubarak, much poetry came out of these memorable experiences.She owns and operate Empathic Touch, acting as a healing facilitator, specializing in the Eastern Arts of Shiatsu, Lomi Lomi, Thai Massage, Feng Shui and Reiki energetic healing.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Poem by Jonathan Butcher

The Morning Journey
Over cast white skies, offer a blanket
that connects both clouds and ground,
and offers this fragile cocoon, as I pass
the rail side gardens littered with rusted
beer cans, over turned tables and Union
Jacks flying at half mast.

The muddy bankings sprayed with rabbit holes
like a field of eyes, that seem far to shallow
to hold any kind of life, offer little shadow,
over the empty green bottles that are piled
up like old ruins.

Those extra two hours, that stretch out my
shift, like a stubborn thief upon a rack, they
force me to avoid the faces still incased in
the vastness this place offers, despite its
limitations, their hands just as idle as ever
form fists, that still remain as brittle as ever.

And the slight breeze here, that carries
any yells away from me, allows that keyboard,
dusted with dead skin and boredom, to fade to
the back of my head, and lets me walk just that
little bit lighter.
Jonathan Butcher is a poet based in Sheffield in the North of England. He has had work appear in various print on on-line publications including: Underground Voices, The Rusty Nail, Electric Windmill Press, Black Listed Magazine, Dead Snakes, Turbulence, Gutter Eloquence, Dead Beats, Popshot Magazine, and others. His forthcoming chapbook 'Concrete Cradle' is to be published by Fire Hazard Press.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Poem by Jon Bennett

3 Fish in a Pool

Walking the bike path
I stopped at Cordanesus Creek.
It emerges briefly from a storm pipe
goes into a culvert under a footbridge
then back into a dark tunnel.

Still, in the shade there
are ferns, trees, and a pool
though not more than 2 feet deep.
I went down the steep embankment
avoiding baby diapers
and decaying garbage
to peer into the cool shallow

and was astonished to see
3 fish in that pool,
and a crawdad, old and pale
missing an arm but still
a little lobster
amongst the filth and failing
of people people people.

Back on the path
an old woman was watching me.
“There's 3 fish in the pool,”
I told her, “and a crawdad!”
We both smiled
and the path seemed greener
and filled with a promise
that someday we'd find
the things that we have lost.

Jon Bennett is a writer and musician living in San Francisco. He has published poetry in Rattle, Rumble, Dead Snakes, The Blue Hour, and a number of other journals, and just finished his first novel, "The Unfat," a speculative science fiction story about autism.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

This is the Strangest Sky

so blue it highlights her eyes,
the white sun,
and grass in dire need of drink strong green and full of itself.
This was the year winter did not come
and summer arrived before spring.
We cut the lawn for the first time in March,
watched a frenzy of honeybees in April
and harvested our first wild strawberries soon after.
By the time May arrived,
we had gone swimming in the pond outback,
the municipal swimming pool had opened,
and the first heat violence churned through the park.
The rivers of mud cracked,
the banks knee dropped into crumbs
and the worst part of all of this was the lack of any comforting breeze.
We sat on the swinging chair in the shade of the porch
and waited for the pause to fast forward.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks includingThe Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Poem by Changming Yuan

Outer Spaces

the landscape is wildly wide
is thin-colored

conceptions loom above the skyline
impulses swirl near the hills

no wind of feeling is blowing
as the spirit sails on the sea

in the limbo
the whole outside is held
right at the tip of my mind’s tongue

Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Allen Qing Yuan, holds a PhD in English, teaches independently and edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver. Yuan's poetry appears in 629 literary publications worldwide, including Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, LiNQ and London Magazine. Submissions welcome at

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Poem by John Miatech

Sierras in May

These mountains are important
All their secret, lonely places,
Where the clouds drop their rain
Enough color happens here
To catch anyone’s attention

Where a black basalt ledge
Juts out above a meadow,
I let my dad’s ashes loose,
To chase his dream of being
A high country cowboy

Down below this spot, a river winds out from Independence Lake
A cool, cerulean blue line flowing east,

Where dragonflies hover in their helicopter bodies
And the grass grows tall

John Miatech has published three books of poetry, Things to Hope For, Waiting for Thunder and What the Wind Says. He currently is working on a new poetry collection, Stretching Into Evening. Miatech’s work has appeared in Anesthesia Review, BlazeVox, RiverSedge, Cellar Roots, Big River Poetry Review, Savasvati, Blue Lake Review,  Northwest Review, and Kind of a Hurricane Press.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Poems by Shelby Stephenson


Since you drifted away, taking your heart
And leaving me with your wavelets as part
Of longing to be with you, I shall go
Now, for we know life’s not art, but the slow,
High way of reconciliation, one
Space between separation’s craving bone
And the chill-healing drive
To see myself without the bride
These words fail to page, praying softly
As dreams break in floods arias
River into your voice I give away,
Seeing your face rescued in every wave.


I quit my bottle of Angry Orchard.
My mouth seeped childhood’s tree.
You leaned into a willow
And knelt into our roots.
Your cider fuzzed my lips in vain:
You kept Love in fee-simple absolute.

Shelby Stephenson’s Family Matters: Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the Bellday Prize for Poetry, 2008, Allen Grossman, judge, and the Oscar Arnold Young Award from the Poetry Council of North Carolina, 2009, Jared Carter, judge. Shelby Stephenson’s Maytle’s World is forthcoming from Evening Street Press.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Poem by Erik Moshe

The Cove of No Tomorrow

There’s no adjective for darkwaters worth choosing from;
You are rich, yet you live in a barren penthouse
How is it so?

There is no
wealth of knowledge on your cobalt walls
Sea salt was rarely garnished
for your yacht harbors
You are a non organic compound supervisor
bridge keeper to altars
You keep matchsticks to see through paradises’ murky underbelly
Cut diamonds are gashes to the collective forehead
chandeliers reflect broken constants
for token prospects
Room decorations fit for Constantinople’s frontyard
ordain the brain of a fool

Humble men often take the backdoor approach
sorting through the topaz, petunias,
piles of surplus gold bricks
carried by brigades of jellyfish pods
waiting in the sub-polar bramble

for rectification at the hands of a people’s ocean

You may ask for extra oxygen bottles
to breathe down here in this cerulean containment cell
A facility where wet stones market
the slippery blueprints of failed discovery

Over-nurtured manta rays flay in the pasteurized sun
You came to the wrong place, I'm afraid
A man finds no home here who holds his treasure dearer to his heart
than his reservoir for goodness
Even Ozymandias needed critique, so why not you?

You’ve dug into trenches and mines
like a hyperactive dwarf
from ranges we don't speak of
places lit by amphibian torches
seldom illuminated by the mind

Your attempts at finding lifeblood had
lacked any sustenance -
never a substance worth fossilizing

Tourist traps rewarded predation
and tomorrow became a dark ravine.

Erik Moshe was born and raised in South Florida. He has been around the world, from France to Iraq and Afghanistan. His work has been published in Gloom Cupboard, the Broward College Pan'Ku , Spirit of the Stairway, Clutching at Straws, mad swirl, The Bactrian Room, DEAD SNAKES, and he has poems forthcoming in Poetry.Pacific and The Camel Saloon. He enjoys microwaveable organics and conversations about DARPA uncertainties.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Poem by Dawnell Harrison

Dissected shadows

Dissected shadows linger
On the rock wall near

The sea’s edge.
The seagulls hover like

Grey kites.
Sparrows dissolve like

Rain under a dust of wings.
It feels like tomorrow will
Never arrive.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 70 magazines and journals including The Endicott Review, Fowl Feathered Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Vox Poetica, Queen's Quarterly, The Vein, Word Riot, Iconoclast, Puckerbrush Review, Nerve Cowboy, Mobius, Absinthe: A journal of poetry, and many others.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Three Poems by Cherise Wyneken

Why do sunsets make me stop and stare?
It’s not the only dab of brightness
    that I’ve seen today.
Yellow allamandas bloom profusely
    on my garden fence
the pool ripples shades of aqua blue
    my beach towel
drapes across the lawn chair
    purple, green and maize
cardinals flange the hedgerow
with brilliant tones of red.
Perhaps because a sunset
filters out the day
    in one last flare of color
telling me it’s over
in pomegranate hues
    watermelon pink, persimmon
leaving dregs of darkness
    in its wake
measuring tomorrow’s waterline
interring tints of blossom
    in its tomb. 
A quiet spot
along the Oregon coast
where gentle waves
ripple toward shore;
a place of peace
with a weathered table
that beckons for a picnic.
Spring green grass
speckled with tiny
white and yellow flowers,
a hedge of unfamiliar shrubs
setting off a lone and
straggled pine,
and cotton ball clouds
melding like eider in a coverlet
with roiling skies above.
A quiet spot
where simple specks of life
portray the total spectrum.
Springing Forward
Flakes of white plum blossoms
fall like snow onto our yard
taking me back to winter fields
lying still beside our house
as I waited to see Santa’s sleigh appear.
I feel sifting snow creep up my sleeves
when frozen ruts
slipped me into cold banks.
I hear delicious crunchy sounds
when walking on thin iced mounds,
and recall the itch and sting of frozen ears.
I make a u-turn from my memories
and find spring spread across our lawn.
Cherise Wyneken is a freelance writer. Her articles, stories, and poems – adult and juvenile – have appeared in over two hundred publications, two collections of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, a memoir, a novel, a children’s book, a children’s audiocassette, and her recent collection of stories from her life, STIR-FRIED MEMORIES from She writes a poetry column at: and was nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prize in poetry.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Poem by William G. Davies, Jr.

Spring Contest

The tree extends
its bony hand
offering ruby buds
seemingly for the taking
as if no amount
of small print
could obscure
this truth

William G. Davies, Jr. lives in a town surrounded by dairy farms. He has been happily married for thirty-eight years. His work has apperared in the Cortland Review, Bluepepper, The Wilderness House Review, Gloom Cupboard and many others.