Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Poem by Joan Leotta

Summer Storm at the Grand Canyon
Black clouds hang low over the canyon
a sudden, swift snap of light
claws across the sky,
ripping into the rim’s stone flesh.
The helpless fury of the wounded stones
roars throughout the canyon.

Relentless, the
fiery cat-o-nine tails
strikes again
at the stones.
Reddened rocks answer each stripe
with rolling roars.
The whip now cracks
angrily around the canyon rim
etching agony onto
the entire semi-circle of rocks
When I can no longer bear to watch
such naked pain and anger,
I retreat, running down the trail.
The rocks cannot run.
Their pain continues.

Joan Leotta is the author of the Legacy of Honor Series: Giulia Goes to War, Letters From Korea, and A Bowl of Rice from Desert Breeze Publishing, Cottonwood Grove published by Western Trail Blaze (April 1, 2014), and Tales Through Time: Women of the South: April Publishing.  Blog:

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Poem by Robert S. King

A gale pushes me up the mountain
to a white cap above wind-wobbled trees,
where limbs must trust the loose fit of snow,
and the mountain’s breath whitens the beard.
Far below, the snow is rain.
The paint of a rainbow melts,
spreads over the valley walls.
A youth brushed his masterpiece days
down there so many years ago,
and I left that one to climb to the top of a life
where every stone is cold. If the wind
cannot take me higher, every trail
twists in black or white
through the only way to go.
Robert S. King, a native Georgian, now lives in Lexington, Kentucky. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published four chapbooks (When Stars Fall Down as Snow, Garland Press 1976; Dream of the Electric Eel, Wolfsong Publications 1982; The Traveller’s Tale, Whistle Press 1998; and Diary of the Last Person on Earth, Sybaritic Press, 2014). His full‐length collections are The Hunted River and The Gravedigger’s Roots, both in 2nd editions from FutureCycle Press, 2012;  One Man's Profit from Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013; and Developing a Photograph of God, Glass Lyre Press, 2014. Robert’s work has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of Net award. He currently is editor-in-chief of Kentucky Review. His personal website is

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Three Poems by Taylor Graham

Bird I Never Saw in Daylight
It hit the windshield, changed parabola
of flight.             You braked the car,
ran back.
Great Horned Owl broken
in the ditch. Quite dead.
How gently you cradled it
to the trunk. How many lambs like ours
disappeared to its talons.
Such a beauty,
you said, folding it in plastic;
placed it in the freezer, prepared
to ship to the museum.
Now our windshield
begins its fine-calligraphy fault-
line, a glass
trajectory of dawn-dim into bright.
Inside the Hall of Ornithology
Owl stares down
from its beaked    mask,
fixed forever-eyes, its voided
breast and fluted bones
     immobilized in flight.
So Many Holidays
The streets were flower extravaganzas,
families by truckloads with chickens and pigs –
maybe St. Francis was blessing
while we just followed road-signs as best
we could, strangers in a white
Toyota – vehicle unpretentious in our native
land but outrageous curiosity
in this place where the streets burst crimson
with fragrances nameless in my language.
Our three dogs with their heads
out the windows, inhaling every scent,
capsicum assailing my senses,
a jolt that never weakens with exposure.
A quote kept circling
my memory like traffic in a glorieta,
intricate trajectories of singular
desires, something
about life love, or was it freedom,
release from self or finding
on a day not even designated, no
special calendar date.
Was it today?
Show Me
I’ve never seen a Horned Puffin – this image in the birdbook. But loons, on a stormy Kenai summer lake thundering the water. Not seen so much as heard, the hard splat of waves on canoe, our young dog guarding the bow. We paddled for anything like shore, the tiniest island. Incredible generosity of dogs and loons in an all night storm. The quality of light sulphur-ionic, dark till daylight. What the earth reveals and hides. Some mornings I wake up feeling like a horned crone – this image in the mirror. What do the eyes know? Without a sound, loons still call, more haunting than wild geese. In the lens behind my eye a dog long dead looks back over her shoulder, making sure I follow; if I’ll believe; tell her “Show me!”
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She’s included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, 2012) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), poems about living and working with her canine search partners over the past 40 years.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Two Poems by Betsey Cullen

At Cheever

time moves
as slowly
as paint
peels from
as slowly
as barn spiders
dress monarchs
in silken thread,
as slowly
as White Mountains
shrug off ages past,
so slowly
I become
a wood thrush
at dusk

The Preserve

plastic fences

into mounds

yellow CATS
steel claws
into clay

vacant pipes
a new crop
of estate homes

for visitors
Betsey Cullen resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She views the natural world with reverence tempered with realism. Her work has appeared in two anthologies published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. She earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester and an M.A. from Cornell University and began writing poetry in retirement. She is married with two grown children and three granddaughters. She can be reached at

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A Poem by Jude Neale

Unbutton the Night
I breathe in the peppermint moon.
It floods through the valley
and settles over the trees.
onto the frozen ground.
Shadows collect
like sticky pollen
in the icy  footpath.
Quickly, quickly,
you come to me .
Your hand, a white dove
suspended by moonlight,
reaches out to touch
my chilled skin.
We lie in silvered meadow,
on a  porcelain bed,
unbuttoning  the night
with our yearning.
Jude Neale was shortlisted for the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize (Ireland), The  International Poetic Republic Poetry Prize (U.K),The Mary Chalmers Smith Poetry Prize  (UK), The Wenlock International Poetry Prize(UK), the RCLA short story and poem competition and she was nominated for the Canadian ReLit Award and the Pat Lowther Award for her book ‘Only the Fallen Can See’.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Poem by Linda Gamble

June Nectar
Hidden amid the lake bank’s thicket
its fragrance heralds summer,     
carries on the breeze, fills my head,
makes me want to swoon. “Weed,“
husband declares, “Japanese invader,”
but he  picks me some.
Wispy petals of palest yellow,
creamsicle orange, flibbertigibbet
of a flower, pistils poking
in all directions. Ah, to be
a hummingbird.! I pull stamen
out through bottom, touch blossom  
to  tongue, taste sweet sunshine-
Linda Gamble is a retired reading specialist from New Jersey. She has previously published poems in Edison Literary Review, US1 Worksheets, Mused, A Long Story Short, Camel Saloon and Jellyfish Whispers. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Two Poems by Adreyo Sen

The cool wind enveloping me in its warm embrace,
I stare into the horizon, where the purple streaked sky
touches the red-bricked house with its fading black fingers.
Wisps of old man's hair aimlessly glide through the sky.
Her purple gold caftan swishing against her white ankles,
a girl glides across the terrace to softly wake her brother.
Rocking in his chair, the old man
taps his fingers to the overtures of Ram and Sita
wafting through the smoky air from the temple
sadly recollecting bygone days.
Training my ears, I hear a heavy scamper
and catch the flash of beady eyes
as a squirrel scampers across the fence.
Drawing her shawl across her dusky face,
encompassed by a sleepy smile, the house cook
slowly edges past me into the kitchen.
In the house swathed in depressing blue,
the plump descendant of a long line of tailors
walks swiftly out of her main door,
draping the tatters of a blue Adidas shirt over her silk sari.
Staring across the sea of houses and lamp posts,
I see my nodding acquaintance,
his dusky face melting in a beam of complacency,
as he sports his outrageously loud shirt,
bobbing with violent shades of brown and red.
The old man across the street disappears inside,
his shaking fingers spilling an indulgent amount,
of the sweet brown fluid that starts his day.
With a sigh, I take his cue and creep inside
to dwell unhappily on more worldly matters.
Another Day
The fair fingers of dawn steal across the purple kohl-rimmed skies
as the harsh strife of the crows announces a new day in the dusty town.
In the moist darkness of 'Universal Hotel' the wavering bluish flame
entertains the circle of men sipping the hot, over-sweet tea,
specialty of this place.
I sit against the bent lamppost, submerged in the shadows that express me,
watching the joggers crossing the street in a steady trickle,
panting their views on the economy in various stages of confused attire.
Slowly the town comes alive,
the weathered oxen come to a halt at the crumbling green doors
with the pendulous grace of a slow-moving monarch,
resigned to the daily burden of carrying the new generation's breakfast.
The faint tinkle of a battered cycle announces the day's news.
People hurry past me with dispassionate glances,
granting me the power of invisibility.
I lie back, my feet tapping to the rumble of the distant traffic,
but I can find no tune to gauge my heart.
The day wears on, drenching my face in rivulets of sweat,
as I attempt to drive away my crown of drunkenly buzzing flies.
Slowly the sky is painted pink and red, etched with purple wrinkles.
The carpet of cars thins gradually, in the dying confusion of the streets.
The lantern's glow bathes me in a dull yellow light,
though I am still invisible to the brisk commuters,
excluded from their two worlds of office and home.
The road is filled with laughing couples
as the cicadas pick up the organs of the evening.
Strains of music flow from the community center.
My heart is still empty,
as empty as the canvas on which I paint my dreams,
as empty as the copper bowl at my feet.
The night's cloak tightens as the strains of Daler Mehndi fade away,
leaving me alone in the accusing silence.
Suddenly a bundle of fur throws itself at me.
Attempting to rise, I utter a glad cry as I stroke its soft ears,
and in the empty darkness, lightened by the heavy breathing at my feet,
my heart is filled.
Adreyo Sen resides in Kolkata, India.  He is pursuing his MFA degree at Stony Brook, Southampton.