Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Poem by Di Lombard

Sleep Torment
In the Voice of a Box Turtle

Clouds curtained night in my Indiana meadow,
where I stopped to sleep beside a wall.

Then knife of eye-fire dropped snaking by me,
its light a blaze so awful

my shield shell seemed to explode.
Death played white tag where I trembled.

Watching, I sighted voice of crack
call its smoke, the sculptured sky in pirouette

by my secret place of air-floating grass.
Its paint, bursting, flavored the taste of my tongue.

Are not, it marked its path north among the stars.
Listening, I lay afraid.

Di Lombard has a drawing published in the Impractical Cats anthology from Medusa's Laugh Press.  She has been working at a cognitive behavior lab since 1979.  Last year she collaborated in an Oregon State University-sponsored residency in the arts located in the Oregon Coast Range.

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Poem by Farfel Lombard

Ballet of Fire

Fireworks lighted happiness.
My mind bursts with the patterns
in the slowly darkening sky
driving weather down to cool and soft.

Balls of smoke screamed up
and balanced for a moment before exploding
and showering the air with a canopy of stars.

Farfel Lombard has published his work in Thresholds Literary Journal and has contributed to collaborative works in BluePrintReview and the Impractical Cats anthology from Medusa's Laugh Press.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Poem by Heather Gelb

Silence of the Crickets

The bronze cricket adorning the weather vane
Defies deceiving winds and only
Points east.

The caged cricket trapped to wisps of good luck
Defies the ears that strain for songs portending
Abundant harvests and joyful encounters.

The silent, unyielding crickets bring
Disharmony to those too wise
To hear the

It takes a child to blow wind sweet enough
To move the bronze cricket and
Wise enough, just enough, to
Open the cage and let good fortune soar
On wings of sound, just
A chirp away from all who hear joy
In the darkness.

Heather Gelb feels most fulfilled leaping from hilltop to hilltop, as she writes in her recently published memoir about her journey from Rwanda to Israel --  Her poetry has been published in such diverse works as Poetica Publishing, Deronda Review, Green Panda Press and Dead Snakes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two Poems by Simon Perchik

This leaf shutting down
drains as if its puddle
could speak for you

though the evenings too
have outgrown, no longer reds
or browns or face to face

the way all these trees
still gives birth in darkness
and the echo you listen for

has your forehead, scented
lulled by the gentle splash
coming by to nurse

--what you hear is the hand
hour after hour leaving your body
and this huge sea

that never blossomed
taking you back for rivers
that wanted to be water.

From under this pathway the sun
brings your shadow back
the only way it knows

though what it pulls up
is just as weak, hardly pebbles
and on a plate left outside

as if this grave is still vicious
caged the way the dead
are fed with your mouth

calling out from the dark corners
for stones, more stones--step by step
you remember things, better times

careful not to come too close
not raise your hand
or one false move.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Poem by Linda M. Crate

Crow Song

the crows
always sang loudly
flapping their
to make me leave,
but stubbornly
i followed;
they stopped when they saw
my crow necklace
almost as if contemplating
who i could be
that i should walk into the forest
without fear--
the songs of the crow continued
ever more softly,
and i felt like they started trying
to teach me how to fly;
i have always
wanted wings and so i followed
listening to all their tales
maybe one day
i will have a pair of wings to follow
after all their dreams.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press -- June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon -- January 2014) were published.  Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015.  Her novel Dragons & Magic is forthcoming through Ravenswood Publishing.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Two Poems by Kate Garrett

Through Bruton Park

summer hangs
     over the edge
of the orchard

grasping at autumn's
& ripening apples
     coax from each adolescent branch

your boy departs
     from the path

the hood up on his black sweatshirt
a druid to scale
creeping amongst those poppet trees

he respects & inspects
hands in pockets

returns, face glowing

a harvest sun

Beside the Irish Sea

testing folktales
               you push your luck--

it is said

off the welsh coast
brings misfortune
to all on board

but you have no ship

there is only you
& only tiptoes
over pebbles
to touch
               but tough
to cross

where the foam paints
the tide line red
with beached jellyfish

stretched flat
& doomed

& where she
once described
(as she rested
in hospital)
as a place
she'd found a sign
from the angels:

          white feathers dashed
                    & fluttering
                              across the sand

Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in southwestern Ohio, but moved to the UK in 1999.  She is senior editor for poetry and flash fiction at Pankhearst, and founding editor of Three Drops Press (which includes the folklore, myths, and fairytales webzine Three drops from a cauldron).  Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her latest poetry pamphlet, The Density of Salt, is forthcoming in 2016 from Indigo Dreams Publishing.  She lives in Sheffield.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Poem by Herb Guggenheim


In Bermuda--
at Elbow Beach--
the ocean is swimming pool blue--
so clear that you can still see your toes
when you've waded out as far as you can go.

The waves at Elbow Beach are gentle mostly
but occasionally a giant one rolls in
almost in slow motion--
almost like liquid glass.

If you have your back to it,
you might not realize it's coming till the last second
and the wave washes over your head
and you're spitting out salt water
which you didn't mean to drink.

When my wife and I get out of the ocean,
a wave follows us back to our cruise ship.

We return home
and the wave is right behind us.
It accompanies me to my office
and comes home with me at night.

Sometimes the wave sleeps by the fireplace.
At other times I open the bedroom closet
and the wave jumps out,
surprising both me and my wife.

When we're out and about,
the wave spots some innocent bystanders
and washes over them,
leaving them speechless, spluttering, and a bit confused.
Also wet.

Eventually the wave gets homesick
and books a flight to Bermuda.
It flies coach,
gets a middle seat
and feels uncomfortable the whole way back.

When the plane lands
the wave boards a bus
and rides back to Elbow Beach
where it crosses the sand and slides back into the ocean.

We never hear from the wave again.

Herb Guggenheim's poems and short stories have appeared in a number of magazines, including The Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly, and Gargoyle.  He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net Award.  Mr. Guggenheim's rhymed poem "Countdown" received an honorable mention in the 2015 Writer's Digest annual writing competition.  He is the author of Sunset at the Hotel Mira Mar (Infinity Publishing, 2011), and the chapbook, Strange Encounter at the Shakespeare Motel (Finishing Line Press, 2015).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Poem by Heather Gelb


Patches of sun illuminate
Vineyards harvested and
Paths forged by generations of
Star dust and potting soil ripe for
A new year of growth

Patches of shade shelter
Emerging sprouts and butterflies
On the verge of discovering a
Brilliant world.

Heather Gelb feels most fulfilled leaping from hilltop to hilltop, as she writes in her recently published memoir about her spiritual and physical journey--  Her poetry has been published in such diverse works as Poetica Publishing, Stepping Stones, Deronda Review, Green Panda Press, and Dead Snakes.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Poem by Izzy Noon

A Priori

we knew before we
got here
how we would cling
to the dew
how we would revel
in the shade
how we would lie
in grasses
and content ourselves
with silence

Izzy Noon is a writer and mother.  Her favorite author is Sylvia Plath.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Three Poems by Rick Hartwell


Free-wheeling south on Highway 101,
giant redwoods render purple shade;
unseen sunrise over left shoulder,
dawn's red turns soft orange then to
vertical bands of soft-filtered yellow
a slant between majestic trunks to right;
crowded sentinels individually
wading through lush ferns,
careful not to tread on the
dappled fawn unfolding.


I'm continually seduced by the wind,
from the small caresses tickling hairs
on the back of my neck to the vagrant
zephyrs drying sweat on arms and face;
such minimal acts of kindness kindle
thoughts of more intimate contact.

So I revel in the roiling currents of air,
first buffets on the distant tree-line, as
it creeps closer, touching dead leaves,
stray flotsam, driven before its lunge
across vacant lots and empty streets,
to embrace me in its clumsy groping.

Klamath Falls

A ravenous hawk spirals over the grove
finally alighting on one of the ancients.

Scurrying mammals and bird attendants
wizard cautious warnings to one another.

Falls of sunlight cascade through pines and firs,
slight zephyrs stir and dry needles rain down.

Freckled and cancerous bark of white birches
rise from lime-colored moss and coiled ferns.

Incongruity of a white doe frozen in full light
next to a fallen giant, creator of a pygmy glen.

Diagonal yellows slash through upper branches
as seedlings strive for lebensraum and growth.

Lightning-struck snags pierce lowering clouds,
river ospreys compete for flashing surface fish.

Fog starts to settle oozing down-slope, fewer
redwoods remain perpendicular to the planet.

And I recall the taste of black licorice as our
tongues played around in this dark theater.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Poem by Inna Dulchevsy

Palette of Now

Falling down
Into the deep grass
Tangled long leaves
Crib of nature
Watching the triangle of birds
Flapping their wings overhead
Piercing clouds
With yellow sharp beaks
Spotting flowers
Picking flowers
Of different colors
Melting into the aroma
Of petals
Kissing heads
Of tulips
Tossing images
Mixing shapes
                Desire of future?
               Ghost of the past?
               Lost dunes of now?
Walk long valleys
Of bluebells
Shades of meadow
On feet
Wish to find one
Tiny red ladybug
Ask her for a blessing
Make just one wish

Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.  She was awarded the First Prize 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition.  Inna's work has been published in numerous anthologies, books, and journals including Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, Petals in the Pan Anthology, book Laveder, The Cannon's Mouth, The Otter, New Poetry, Calliope Magazine, Aquillrelle Anthology, 4th annual Lummox Poetry Anthology, Antheon, and is forthcoming in Element(ary) . . . My Dear Anthology and Calliope Magazine Anniversary Issue.  Her interests include metaphysics, philosophy, meditation and yoga.  The light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature are essential in the writing of her poetry.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Poem by Theresa A. Cancro

See How the Goddess Reaps

as seeds apportion her womb,
spark labyrinth crops to
plow life back, then forward
within, outside of time.

She shores sap tails to be rattled
awake with lugubrious chants, potions,
watches whorls that feed our arms,
our lank souls, through nuptials,
childbirth, wrapped lengths

of the moon cycle, around which
she squats to birth, breach labor, while
umbilical cords, like snakes, writhe.
Oh, she loathes the cut-off
from each leaf, pebble,
magpie, snail, narwhal,
but resists cloying.

Humans in hubris stop
her in her tracks:
their spoil truncates her beauty
once primed by each eye, that
pride of clay handiwork, such
destruction, loss, pain sieved
through warped looms--

Still, she presses on.

Theresa A. Cancro writes poetry and short fiction from Wilmington, DE.  Dozens of her poems have appeared internationally in online and print publications including The Artistic Muse, The Rainbow Journal, Leaves of Ink, Plum Tree Tavern, The Heron's Nest, A Hundred Gourds, Presence, Wild Plum, High Coupe, and Pyrokinection, among others.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Poem by John Kross

Observations in a Fall Garden

This year's winner is portulaca.
She has overrun the competition.
I pronounce her pour-chew-laka,
as if her presence isn't already
pronounced enough.

A watery weed in disguise,
she slips beneath a bed of color
when the sun comes out.
Hundreds of little umbrellas
protecting her from the heat,
or rather gathering it.
Like those big dishes in
the Arizona desert
that listen to outer space,
she sways and moves toward
the voice of the sun.

Three colors dominate.
Neon pink,
not glow in the dark pink
but glow in the day pink.

a red as red as
"B" horror movie blood,

and lemony yellow.

In the afternoon they hide.
Delicate brushes dipped in color,
their daily quota of light fulfilled.

Those not in direct light
still fight,
open and searching,
leaning and bending toward
leftover patches of day . . .

I see on standing alone,
upright and outstretched,
tall and wiry.
A netted wing dragonfly
stops to chat.

The dianthus lie
silent among the portulaca.
Like gored runners at Pamplona
they have been trampled and overrun,
their white garment petals
splattered in red.

The roses fade in the August heat,
tired of continuous expectation
they don't even try anymore.
They will be pruned for their indolence.
In the spring they will have matured,
and will be back to fulfilling expectations.

Near the garage,
the Mexican heather sways
in the intermittent shade of fountain grass.
Running this way and that,
trying to catch a random ray of light
between the blades of tall grass.

In the corner of the yard
the fountain sits bleached and tired,
weathered by a season of sun.

It bubbles in slow motion,

the mossy birds lie down in its flow,
too tired to stand anymore.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

Season of Death

hung over the fog like skunk juice,
mulberries heavy and thick,
ripening into black, its leaves
browning to the death hues of autumn.
What was left was left,
what remained began to smell,
everywhere an ending for one species
and a feast for another.

We refused what was in front of us,
pushed back from the table full
and never noticed the drought over the mountain--
it did not pertain to where we were,
water deep and easily cleaned,
the stores full of themselves:
money meant nothing
when it no longer mattered.

Summer ended before its time,
we watched it drain itself clear,
bided our time like fugitives,
and wandered into the spray.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses.  His work has appeared in The Cafe 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 including The 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), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2012).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).  Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago's inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Three Poems by Steve Carter

Sitting in the Sun

a lizard
perhaps two inches long
hops onto the concrete apron
around the post of the cast iron gate
then up onto the horizontal slat of the fence
looking black as its shadow
in the sun

"in" the sun, we say
the sun's light
through cold dark space
on warm skin


Moving through the night,
sky in all directions lit,
earth trembling beneath the house,
windows closed tight
against the driving rain.

a tree
taller than the house
its roots
in the rumbling earth.


An impossible bird
with long, dangling tail feathers
of some bright, unknown color
flashing by the window,
caught in the corner of the eye.

But when it lands on the grass
it is seen to be a black and common crow.

Only when it takes flight again
do I see the sheen of its feathers,
purple and green,
catch the sun.

Steve Carter is a writer and jazz guitarist.  He taught music and English at Berklee College of Music.  His first book of poems, Intermodulations, was recently published by Maat Publishing (  His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including Hanging Loose, Carolina Review, Stand, and Clackamas Literary Review.  He has 10 CDs of his music available on his independent record label, Frogstory Records (

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Poem by Desirée Magney

The Tomato

She gently sticks her thumb into the fleshy innards
of the thickly sliced, ruby red Heirloom.

She works her way round clockwise,
segment by gelatinous segment.

Nail pointed towards her,
she slowly extricates her thumb each time.

And with every satisfying sucking sound,
she disembowels it of its seeds.

Desiree Magney is a freelance writer and former child advocacy lawyer.  She writes memoir, poetry, and personal narrative travel pieces.  She has been published in Washingtonian Magazine (Washington Voices), Bethesda Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and by The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland.  The Writer's Center also honored her with a "Best in Workshop" reading.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the literary journal, Little Patuxent Review, and has been on of their fiction readers.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Three Poems by Diane Webster

Dust Particles

Even in wind
the cottonwood leaves
couldn't shake the dust
from their surface.
Grass tried to grow taller
to rise above billowing clouds
choking their blades.
Rocks buried themselves
in an attempt to filter
the fine particles
between cousin sand pebbles.
Even the sound of a stream
barely quenched the scene
until a monarch butterfly
appeared in an epiphany
so bright and new as if
freshly birthed from cocoon;
it fluttered through
the dingy turnoff
like the first breath
after a drowning.

Feather Tickles

A single feather sticks upright
between gravel in the driveway
where an Indian is buried
up to his feather,
where a dove suddenly veers
off course because of a feather
shed in mid-flight,
where an ant dragged the treasure
into the wind for the best chance
to launch skyward to see
the world scurrying below
like millions of its ancestors.

Bee Feeder

Bees have commandeered
the hummingbird feeder
this early September day.
Plastic, yellow flowers
ooze more nectar
than the originals below
growing brittle in Fall
like rust flaking off
an old wreck of a car
the bees call home at night.

Diane Webster enjoys the challenge of picturing images into words to fit her poems.  If she can envision her poem, she can write what she sees and her readers can visualize her ideas.  That's the excitement of writing.  Her work has appeared in "The Hurricane Review," "Eunoia Review," "Illya's Honey," and other literary magazines.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Poem by James Diaz

This Stir of Ours

Summer storm
I open to drink
from your tiny neck
the settled buzz
wind insects
here and there

is that you after life?
clawing in the mud
and how gross your other face is
cloud scuttle
lit in its belly bone
with fire wood and resin
of jet liner

so much civilization
we have to fence it out.

James Diaz lives in New York.  His poetry and fiction can be found in Calliope, Cheap Pop Lit, The Idiom, Black Mirror Magazine, and Pismire.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Sundown, Fall

Fall, everything is turning yellow and golden.
No wind, Indian summer, bright day,
wind charms with Indian enchantment,
last brides marry before first snowfall,
grass growth slows down, retreats,
haven of the winter grows legs, strong,
learns baby steps, pushes itself
up slowly against my patio door, freezes,
and says, "soon, soon, Spring I'll be there."
Winter is sweeping up what is left of fall,
making room for shorter day's longer nights.
I hear the echoes of the change of seasons,
till next sundown sunflowers grow.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era.  Now know as the Illinois poet, from  Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, and photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 875 small press magazines in 27 countries.  He edits 9 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost Americans:  From Exile to Freedom, several chapbooks of poetry, including, From Which Place the Morning Rises, Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 73 poetry videos on YouTube.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Poem by David Lymanstall

Michigan Transplant

A transplant from a Michigan nursery,
Now standing tall in a yard without compatriots
With needles anything but sharp,
In fact, rather slender and soft, you grace the landscape,

I wondered how you would adjust
To an Ohio yard,
Overshadowed by imposing maples,
Whose gnarled roots anchor ancient inhabitants.

Your destiny in this yard, your place on earth,
Created for you by a long gone willow
Who continued to make its presence known
By its absence.  A concave tombstone made by sinking soil,
Marking roots long gone,
Marking the spot where you should be
To catch the rays of morning light
And bid goodnight to the waning day.

Thriving, growing tall,
Your shadow stretches, chasing an arcing sun.
Branches welcome the sparrow.
Bend with the burden of snow.

Mindful and content, you sing your song,
Your breath from the wind,
Your voice from slender needles,
Whispering an ancient arboreal tale.

David Lymanstall is a teacher, artist and musician.  He has taught in classrooms ranging from Montessori Middle School to the college classroom.  He enjoys learning himself and likes to ignite that love of learning in others of any age.  In his spare time he teaches illustrated journal workshops, plays the fiddle in an Irish session group and enjoys writing science, and nature related poetry that hopefully inspires others to look at the world around them a little closer.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman


the size of my fist invade our yard
every year.  They scare my Chihuahua,
scale the fences.  They pause to pose
for pictures I take in documentation
of their return.  Their skin glows
gold and green in the flash.  I can feel their eyes
full of confused curiosity towards this stranger
they encounter annually. 

Birth of a Spore Tree

Young frond unfurls slowly, delicate
antennae of life, tiny finger, reaching for sun.
No wooden supports required,
these lignin limbs will eventually stretch
thirteen feet high.  Enduring
tropical conditions, exposed
until final eruption, a crown
of fern-like fronds.


Bonfires are forbidden on the beach
after sunset.  Endangered turtle hatchlings
confuse the warmth and light for the sun,
follow it blindly, sacrificing themselves
to the flames.

A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), and Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications) are now available from their respective publishers.  She has two additional poetry collections forthcoming:  Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press).  She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2300 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Poem by Rick Hartwell


Scorpion of the Sea
(or of the North and Back Bay),
society of Sculpin
(camouflaged algae green, brown),
family Cottidae
(broad head, gristle gum, gaping maw),
saltwater bullhead
(prehistoric mien and manner, grotesquery),
labeled a trash fish
(horrific to the uninitiated and intimidated),
toxic dorsal spine
(a conjurer's spell to fright young fishermen).

At ten or eleven or twelve,
setting out for perch or smelt,
quicksilver flashes, lip snagged,
something worthy of a frying pan,
collectively a dinner, if not singly,
or the slow reeling of dark weight
until a halibut's quick pancake flip
presents pallid mouth and belly flesh.

Hooks baited with fillets of raw bacon,
oily aphrodisiac cast in polluted water,
we, angling from an eight-foot pram,
young Hemingways next to the docks,
catching bullheads in the north channel,
unhooking them with our bloody fingers,
as they'd attempt to breathe an atmosphere,
unfamiliar medium unsuited to their needs.

Once released, they'd disappear below,
residents of the shallows, no longer aliens,
yet soon caught again by insatiable appetite,
relieved occasionally by a wayward stingray,
another denizen of nightmares freed yet again,
as we played out this ritual day after day,
keenly expectant, as only the young can be:
our luck would change and we'd be fed instead.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher living in Southern California.  He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity.  Given his druthers, if he's not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.  He can be reached at

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Poem by Barbara Bald

Traveling with a Hare

I smile when I see them, there
on the edge of the woods—
fan-shaped prints spreading out
across a snowy expanse,
sun glinting on them,
like crystallized sugar cookies,
gray shadows, deep within each track,
peeking out at the light.

Large fur-padded hind-feet, positioned
ahead of small front paws,
leave marks that confuse the eye,
and warm spring rays, melting edges
of the imprints, expand them
to a size that equals those of Sasquatch.

I like to imagine a giant hare, hopping
in thickets behind my house.
My legs tucked snuggly
within his gigantic haunches,
he leaps with me on his back.
Whether fleeing from predators
or racing in zigzag patterns of play,
we dare to leave the trail, the ground,
all security far behind.
Risking everything, we surrender to passion,
bound like Icarus into giddy, free flight.

Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant and free-lance writer. Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies: The Other Side of Sorrow, The 2008 and 2010 Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire and For Loving Precious Beast. They have appeared in The Northern New England Review, Avocet, Off the Coast and in multiple issues of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s publication: The Poets’ Touchstone. Her work has been recognized in both national and local contests including the Rochester Poet Laureate Contest, Lisbon’s Fall Festival of Art Contest, Conway Library’s Annual Contest, Goodwin Library’s Annual Contest, and The Poetry Society of New Hampshire’s National and Member Contests. Her recent full-length book is called Drive-Through Window and her new chapbook is entitled Running on Empty. Barb lives in Alton, NH with her cat Catcher, two Siamese Fighting fish and a tank of Hissing Cockroaches.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Two Poems by Dilip Mohapatra


Under the banyan tree in the street corner
few worn out scooter tires and semi-wet sands
which once supported the earthen pots
filled with drinking water not long ago
now feel desolate and deserted.

The red flames on the Gulmohar trees
flanking the streets doused by the first showers
have lost their sheen to the verdant green.
Blue polythene covered sheds have mushroomed
along the rows of shops skirting the footpaths.

The summer has slipped away
and perhaps is hiding behind the clouds
and a farmer in his ramshackle hut
puts an aluminum pot below the dripping hole
on his thatched roof and scrapes
the dry mud off his overused plough.

Paper Boats

Monsoon descends
and the clouds split open
the gutters running parallel
on both sides of
the narrow village gully
swell up in a spate and
bridge the gap
between them
to shake hands.

An endless ribbon of
muddy brown water
slithers on the road
like a huge serpent
after its prey
a faint and translucent sun
swims on its back lazily
a wanton wind whistling
through the coconut fronds.

Tiny dots of paper boats
appear from nowhere
riding the crests and troughs
of the gushing stream
dancing in tandem
to the rhythms of the ripples
wobbling aimlessly
with no compass nor chart
and no harbour to enter.

They set sail on their uncertain course
with no ropes nor even an anchor
and with no cargo in the holds
of their folds
but their transparent rigging
laden with laughter and cheer
and boundless glee
like the trinkets twinkling
on a Christmas tree.

The notebooks become
thinner and thinner
while some topple and capsize
and some continue to stay afloat
their keels becoming
wetter and heavier as they sail by.
An infinite joy abounds
in the air and
spirits soar high.

Dilip Mohapatra, a decorated Navy Veteran, started writing poems in the seventies.  His poems have appeared in many literary journals of repute in India and abroad.  Some of his poems have been featured in the World Poetry Yearbook, 2013 along with the works of 211 contemporary poets from 93 countries and few are lined up for its 2014 Edition due in June 2015.  He has two poetry collections titled "A Pinch of Sun & other poems" and "Different Shades" to his credit, published by Authorspress India.  He holds two masters degrees, in Physics and in Management Studies.  He lives with his wife in Pune.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Willow Tree and Sparrow Wings

I stare at my willow tree
outside my balcony for hours --
all motion, all wind music,
shade of shimmering sunlight
begins to fade --
tongue lapping of shadows between
these branches the clouds
move across.
Even my wind chimes
nearby sing an unknown
language calls out
spirit of God "I am what I am."
Then there is my quiet night,
all I hear is shifting
of those sparrow wings.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries.  He edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freendom (136 page book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Poem by Mary L. Westcott

Stopping by Ocala Woods, A Decima

The fan palms damp with drops
of water from the drizzling sky
that rains quietly on ferns and high
pines at Marshall's Swamp, a stop
To see the marsh, the oak treetops
in a cool place, to sit meditating
Surrounded by tall cypress abating
The whirl of life, the shop-strewn world,
of commerce, cars and new stores unfurled
like a million black ants proliferating.

Mary L. Westcott has been writing poetry for more than 25 years.  She received an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University in 2010.  She has been published in more than 55 literary journals.  She has published 6 books in poetry, including the latest from Balboa Press, called Fluttering on Earth, a poetic memoir.  She retired from the National Institutes of Health, and lives in Central Florida.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Two Poems by Lyn Lifshin

December Pond

The v of mallards
criss-crosses the
beaver's wake.
Feathers clot on
apricot water.
Dried camellias
flutter like the
feathers.  What
isn't, haunts like
the name "Bethany"
of the stain on
a quilt that some
how sucks me back
to before my mother
was howling in the
smallest dark room
under a moon
of brass

The Pond on the Walk Back from the Metro, December, A Night You Can Smell the Melt

without leaves,
lights thru silver
branches hang
icicle stars.
Jade and ruby
lights.  I think of
Liv Ullman saying
"life is what goes
on in other people's
rooms."  Squishy
earth, barberry.
New dandelions.
Birds in clumps.
Feathers on the
silk of the pond
like ghosts about to
take the shape of
whatever you
make of them

Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women's including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years.  She has several books from Black Sparrow books.  Her web site,, shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter:  My Year with Ruffian and Barbaro:  Beyond Brokenness, to recent books about dance:  Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe:  The Tango Poems.  Other new books include For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All The Poets Who Touched Me; A Girl Goes Into the Woods; Malala, Tangled as the Alphabet:    The Istanbul Poems.  Also just out:  Secretariat:  The Red Freak, The Miracle, Malala and Luminous Women:  Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Poem by Alicia Cole

The Fig Tree

Under the shade of the tree:
grandmother and light
suddenly struck;

leaves' tiny hands; moist
summer air; and jam
tasting of song.

a cat winnowing sinuously
through the yard.

a bird calling, its voice
great carelessness.

Song, grandmother's forgetting
like running yolk

or the day's cracked light.

Alicia Cole, a full-time creative writer/talent/educator, lives in Lawrenceville, GA, with her husband and menagerie of animals.  She loves the variety of wildlife that live near their home, and has recently become fond of baby snapping turtles.  Her first chapbook "Darkly Told" was recently published by Priestess & Hierophant Press, and her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Torn Pages Anthology, Bitterzoet Bonbons, Drabblecast, Glitterwolf Magazine, and Eternal Haunted Summer.  You can find more of her work at

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Poem by M.J. Iuppa

This Morning's Litany

Here, the leafless mulberry imagines itself fully dressed.
Here, a band of robins flit in and out of its burnished crown.
Here, branches sway with every bright note sung at daybreak.
Here, the fishhook moon trawls slowly over the orchard.
Here, my breath flutters on the window, counting back-
wards, claiming this hour's rhythm as my own.

M.J. Iuppa lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario.  Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals:  Poppy Road Review, Black Poppy Reive, Digging to the Roots, 2015 Caledar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific Review, Grey Sparrow Press:  Snow Jewel Anthology, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press:  Where I Live Anthology, Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries Magazine (Ireland), The Lake, (U.K.), Punchnel's; forthcoming in Camroc Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Revie, Clementine Poetry, Postcard Poetry & Prose, among others.  She is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College.  You can follow her musings on art, writing and sustainability on

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Poem by Patricia L. Goodman

Searching for Paradise
Chadds Ford, PA, 1965

Our horses walk like whispers through tall grass of a ridge.  A sweet-meadow smell drifts up the slope--milkweed in full bloom.
A small herd of deer scatters.  Groundhogs dash for burrows.  A red-tailed hawk sends its raspy screech tumbling through air.

    growing family . . .
    this charming farm

From high on a hill we discover a hidden stream shining below, laced with swallows and dragonflies that swoop and glide.
Embossed by sun and clouds, it seems to reach up, invite us closer, beg us to stay.

    our secret
    this unknown water . . .
    perfect new life

Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother and grandmother, a graduate of Wells College with a degree in Biology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her career involved breeding and training horses with her orthodontist husband on their farm in Chadds Ford, PA.  She has had poems published in the likes of Aries, The Broadkill Review, Sugar Mule, Requiem Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Fox Chase Review; Mistletoe Madness, Storm Cycle, Poised in Flight (all from Kind of a Hurricane Press), On Our Own (Silver Boomer Books), and The Widow's Handbook.  Her first book, Closer to the Ground, was a finalist in the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Competition and she has twice won the Delaware Press Association Communications Award in poetry.  She lives on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in Delaware, where she is surrounded by the natural world she loves.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Poem by Suzette Bishop

Take Me In


Woods, but near enough
To still see the house
Through a Japanese screen
Of leaves, evergreen branches.
Earthen path take me
Into the smell of leaves,
New, ripe fluid inside with Spring,
Crumbled to a dry, musky powder
With late Fall.
Vines take me to the canopy,
To bark breaking under my hand,
In bird-song,
In speckled sunlight.


Ocean, briny
Underwater heave
Over my head,
Pulling sand from my feet,
Sometimes something sharp,
Keep me to depths where I can still
Stand, looking out to where
The bottom falls away.


Saltwater marsh,
Allowing a break
In the sea grass
Toward the cormorant praising


Brush country,
Green despite aridness,
Stickers, thorns
From a delicate, tensile branch
Scraping my jeans,
Cactus hiding venomous creatures,
Baby rabbit watching, uneaten.
Thunder, wind me through
Smell of sage,
Smell of Huisache,
To follow your hoof prints
Back out,
If we can find them.

Suzette Bishop teaches at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, and is a contributing editor for Stockport Flats Press.  She has published three books of poetry, Hive-Mind, Horse-Minded, and She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes, and a chapbook, Cold Knife Surgery.  Her poems have appeared in many journals and in the anthologies Imagination & Place:  An Anthology, The Virago Book of Birth Poetry, and American Ghost:  Poets on Life After Industry.  A poem from her first book won the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors' Prize Contest.  In addition to teaching, she has given workshops for gifted children, senior citizens, writers on the US-Mexico border, at-risk youth, and for an afterschool arts program serving a rural Hispanic community.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Poem by Sarah Doyle

I, Autumn

I know they dread my coming, and am hurt by it.  I cannot help what I am, what I am not.  There is, within me, a burnished fragility.  I am quiet in my approach, deceptively tentative.  A stealthy guest is not always a welcome guest.  I bring a season of harvest more meaningful than the blossoms of my showy cousin, Summer -- but still, I am resented.  Despised for what I herald -- darkness, cold, hopelessness -- I am the anti-Persephone, the fall of leaves, the closing of doors and hearts.

Sarah Doyle is the Pre-Raphaelite Society's Poet-in-Residence.  She has been widely placed and published, with her first collection, "Dreaming Spheres:  Poems of the Solar System" (co-written with Allen Ashley), being published by PS Publishing in Autumn 2014.  Sarah co-hosts Rhyme & Rhythm Jazz-Poetry Club at Enfield's Dugdale Theatre.  More at:

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Poem by Simon Perchik

What a strange crop the smell
spread out the way this mud is plowed
already warmed by the descent

used to one, one more, one more
though you are circling it
with your mouth left open

holding nothing, moving nothing
nothing but this dirt
no longer thirsty, confident

--what struggles here is the rain
still on the ground, thinning out
as lakes, at most as lips and distances

--here you've got to bend
to get a closer grip, pull up
this hillside broken loose

and lean into where this water takes you
handcuffed, smashed against the rocks
and on your knees more kisses.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, Published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free e-books and his essay titled "Magic, Illusion, and Other Realities" please visit his website at

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Poem by Jeanine Stevens


Some things go unnoticed,
like the ornate label on this olive-oil bottle
brown filigreed villages dotted
with green and white trees
(product imported via Hackensack).
Etched leaves puff around the neck,
and at the bottom, a border of cabbage roses
caught in a golden banner,
like the sash worn by beauty queens.
If I hadn't been so still
I would not have noticed the hawk
in the oak so close to my house,
nothing moving
but made known by his block shape.
Only when I raised my tea cup
did he startle, narrowly missing my face,
rising airborne to his claimed perch
in the highest redwood.
Here again, a vast whiteness
filled in by browns and greens.
The spicy nasturtiums frozen all winter
begin to show variegated ivory and lime leaves,
miniature lily pads.  (The seed packet
identifies, "Alaska" variety;
the photo resembles a shrunken pea).
What transformation, how lush,
I will add blooms to a salad,
complementing the bergamot in my Earl Grey.
Hawk watching, has no need of me,
its mice he's after.
From another angle he could blot out the sun.
Architecture, structure; canopy of trees,
understory, snail trail--
scaffolding I just noticed.

Jeanine Stevens poetry has appeared in Pearl, Earth's Daughters, North Dakota Review, Evansville Review, Perfume River, Tipton Poetry Review and Arabesque.  Her latest chapbook, "Needle in the Sea," was published by Tiger's Eye Press in 2014.  She has awards from the Bay Area Poet's Coalition, Stockton Arts Commission and Ekphrasis.  Raised in Indiana, she now divides her time between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A poem by Barbara Brooks

Marbled Spider

          Its web stretches
across the trail.  A deer fly brushes
its sticky center.  The spider
watches as it struggles.

          As the web stills,
the spider crawls down,
wraps the body in a cocoon,
injects its venom.

          The spider sucks
its capture dry, snips the silken
husk from the snare,
removing any hint of death.

          Broken threads
repaired, the spider slides
under a leaf, legs poised
for another capture.

Barbara Brooks, author of The Catbird Sang and A Shell to Return to the Sea chapbooks, is a member of Poet Fools.  Her work has been accepted in Avalon Literary Review, Chagrin River Review, The Foundling Review, Blue Lake Review, Granny Smith Magazine, Third Wednesday, Shadow Road Quarterly, Indigo Mosaic, Muddy River Poetry Review, Boston Literary Magazine and online at Southern Women's Review, Poetry Quarterly, Big River Poetry, Agave Magazine among others.  She currently lives in North Carolina with her dog.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Three Poems by Don Mager

November Journal:  Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Like the silent loping of a deer
as it emerges out of shadows,
passes and subsides in the distance,
beneath the ripe gold of the full moon
a solo runner glides down the street.
His tireless legs glow white and lithe in
washes of lunar clarity.  His
white gloved hands piston-pump the frost cleaned
air.  Beneath his hood, breath clouds spurt from
his thrumming oxygen-flushed heart.  His
loping stride passes the house.  Without
a shift of gear, his body leans as
he glides up the steep hill.
                                        The morning
paper dangles from the watching hand.

November Journal:  Thursday, November 21, 2013

As light packs up to sail west, the
air tastes chilly cider residue.
On the ledge above the tired rake,
the few last sips at the bottom of
the thick mug fill the mouth and linger
happily.  They scarcely notice how
alone they are.  All day the palate
is busy with the herby dryness
of leaves.  The mouth imbibes gulps--all day--
of cold air spiked with dust.  Now air takes
in, with each waning sip, pristine breaths
of vanishing light and holds their bright
bouquet.  Scattering light's soft ashes
across still dark waters, air exhales.

November Journal:  Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resigned to be bare patches of cold
clay where fallen leaves are scuffed aside,
afternoon crawls parched and impotent.
It mumbles through circle on circle
of prayer beads whose repeats transform time
to timelessness.  It kneels and looks down
on the stream whose leaf clogged pools are glass.
Their lit icons flicker in the shade
of the bank.  Unmoving, afternoon
succumbs to a trance.  Unmoving, the
stream stares back.  From carcasses of trees
in distant wetlands, unnoticed crows
caw and scold the ears' inner edge but
they are tuned to hear silence only.

Don Mager's chapbooks and volumes of poetry are:  To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owned to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook Drive Time, and Russian Riffs.  He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD).  He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011).  As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian.  He lives in Charlotte, NC.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Three Poems by Ralph Monday


After the fire was roaring in the fire pit
false red and orange suns, the
hemlocks frozen, green-crusted by
falling snow, I listened to the whisper
of snow sifting through trees, the
uneasiness of blackbirds picking at
brown stubble in the garden.
I knew that this Octavia, this winter
storm, was not the same as the wife
Mark Anthony divorced--but yet a
strange connection--in the way of
the world--for both came to icy
completion and passed away.
My hands warmed by the fire I am of
winter-mind:  Old High German wintar, Goth
wintrus, Old Norse Vetrardag--more than
fifty winters I have loved.
This Octavia connects the past with now,
her billowing white skirts settling over the
land like a wedding dress, not a funeral
shroud, for this white time is not the moment of
hibernation--instead a steady tick of ice, sleet,
snow writing the book of winter, snow February
moon, there hidden deep behind thick
clouds.  The modern masses huddle in consternation,
but I, I laugh with those in all the past who left
snowprints through forests, and would know
today the many arms of Octavia
saying these are my wintry breasts, my
snowmilk to nourish.

Winter Wind

We walked on the frozen trail through
the woods, when I stopped and said
do you hear?
A far off roar, like a tornado coming
closer and closer.  Then the treetops bent and
swayed as the mighty presence rushed past--
wind through the treetops like some
hurried god late for a
so strange, only a few trees but one in particular,
a great red oak bent back and forth like the
ticking hand of a clock as though singled
out.  The force swept away as quickly as it
came.  I knew that this was a living presence,
something on a mission that sought out that
tree like a Druid priest.  We weren't supposed
to be there, to have witnessed this god of
air as it exhaled the potency of dim, far stars.
          See see, I felt it say.
You are frail avatars waiting to be
spliced within the seeds of the
earth.  Shadow smoke rising from a 
wood stove, vapor, twice-made silhouettes beneath
heaven's windows--spirits moving on and away.

Morning Psalm

She wrote the psalm for the morning
on her palm where the forest dripped
sodden tones, tree roots buried tongues,
moss her sage gown that sweeps along
a wild ballroom floor the way she once
danced to manifest notes, childhood
memories of girlhood:
long skinny legs, an imagined ballerina's
pirouette on bone white river stones,
antlered arms reaching out to embrace
the lead in the Black Swan and
trees bow down, cry out for more after
the curtain call where the river sweeps
by singing the last morning hymn.

Ralph Monday is Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, and published in over 50 journals.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.  A book, Lost House and American Renditions, is scheduled for publication, May 2015 by Aldrich Press.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Three Poems by Phil Wood

A Gull Lost in Rain

membrane     slashed     shell cracks
     hunger     untethered     again
nest clinging     in cleft     of white cliff

          a fledgling     pulsing     ghosted
with flight     blood threading     to wing
          in feathered strain     slap and smack

of waves     claw of wind     glides
     beyond spray     weathered     herring sky
above     screech and beak     circling

weary     beckoning     sullen rock
     spiralling closer     that final     nest
ever closer     that kiss     of rest

The Fisherman's Wife

Soaping her hand gave pause for thought.
Agreed, it was obvious.  Gilt-heads
grinning, demise brimming bright-eyed
belief crisping beneath the grill.

They almost anesthetized her.
Almost.  But seeping under the scent
of saffron rice, beyond these fish
dreaming of Mediterranean blue

her hand gave pause and so she found
a bruising bit on her banded finger.
The Persian cat flicked its tail,
the bowl of bream began to swim.


across the blue blush of waves
a school of dolphins mouth
polystyrene cups

a sense of

Phil Wood works in a statistics office.  Enjoys working with numbers and words.  Recently published poems can be found in London Grip, The Stare's Nest, The Lampeter Literary Review, and The Open Mouse.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Poems by William G. Davies, Jr.

The Pursuit of Happiness

They file intrepidly
into the bus.
These gentle souls
with one foot
in a trenchant world
and one in another.
Nurtured by
celestial caregivers
who orbit their love
around scintillating universes,
kindred to the most eclectic foibles
as they encompass each other;
truth and beauty.

A Winter Mirage

The hill is
a white tsunami
about to bear down
on a crow, braced,
like the student
in Tianenmen Square.


The pine tree
died over winter,
Like Stalin under glass,
its decay ambient
skipping petrifaction
for those silvery nights
when sap glazes crimson
and stars nest in its boughs.

William G. Davies, Jr. is the current Poet Laureate for Perry County, Pennsylvania.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Slower and Slower

The robin red breast preaches away in a pulpit of fall leaves
As unwary as a baby doll in his vanishing fiefdom of warm breezes
That are like going to the best Goodwill store you ever saw
And here the utterances of a magic word invokes a golden ladder
That is too soon consumed by the black ink of the coming light
As it sighs like the harvest of fruit near the horse fields
Beyond the mountains where the moon and stars are like
An extra warm blanket on the coldest of nights

Showered with Roses

Sprawling September rides the rails that serenade
The first harvest of the fishing piers
That are so close to the vibrant sliced streets
That rotate upon jellied skewers
And the night sky universe is like charred corn
Above the crispy mountainsides
Lost in the starlight that reflects upon the soft sands of the beach
That spoon up all of these shipwrecked thoughts of mine

As Fragile As Nostalgia

The seaside's outlaw chimes echo with rainbow coral and cicadas
And not even the lamenting claws of candles
In the mansions of the tides can smother Handel's Messiah
Which the nearby thick woods are slowing reclaiming inch by inch
On these galaxies of clear nights

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Three Poems by April Salzano

Sailor's Warning

In the sky the ocean
of morning, all pink
hues and striations conjoined
without pretense, without desperation.
Here goes my soul, awkward
at dawn, awake and waiting for enough
light to erase this notion of perfection.

April Showers

The cruelest month is coming to a close.
Finally, what began in snow will end in rain.
Red tulips have opened their mouths to swallow
sun, following daffodils' bloom in roadside surprise.
Phlox begins to spill lavender flowers over stones
attempting to confine their growth.  Purple
bells spout spontaneously in grass, wild-
flowers mark the true beginning of a long awaited
season.  We are still cold, but remember what it feels
like to be warmed by natural light.  Lengthened
days, however short-lived in the north, are as welcome
as bright colors of perennials.

I Woke to Slanted

snow, wet and less hypothetical
than a percent or probability.
Trees penciled in white stood buried
trunk-deep, driveway, vanished.
This season tests our resolve, freezes
our sense of humor.  We have had more
school delays, cancellations, than any
other winter.  Stoicism is a memory
hiding under a hard ground, waiting
to split open in spring.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons.  She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring, 2015 from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Poem by Douglas Cole


Behold the sun exploding over high grass,
this field, these arms raised
to that opening from which I've come.

Alligators prowl the shadows.
I will sing you a song of the blue man
in the words of our mother tongue.

This is what the willow knows.
A dog leaps out of the glare,
running in the pure fury burning

elemental in his limbs.  I know
this fire, the crows stunned into flight,
the black wings expanding into light.

And I go out, sent out with a compass
and a coin for the toll, my only
orders to come back by darkness.

Douglas Cole has had worked in The Chicago Quarterly Review, Red Rock Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  He has more work available online in The Adirondack Review, Salt River Review, and Avatar Review, as well as recorded stories in Bound Off and The Baltimore Review.  He has published two poetry collections, Interstate through Night Ballet Press and Western Dream with Finishing Line Press, as well as a novella called Ghost with Blue Cubicle Press.  He has received several awards, including the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry, the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House, First Prize in the "Picture Worth 500 Words" from Tattoo Highway; as well as an honorable mention from Glimmer Train.  He was also recently the featured poet in Poetry Quarterly.  He is currently on the faculty at Seattle Central College.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Poem by Bill Jansen


at Les Schwab Tires
the howling lug nuts
the balancing
the siping
the flat screen tv
the warranty
the free rotation
the display jar
full of screw and nails
the air
Christ breathed
the the
the that
the its ready
parked out front
here are your keys.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Two Poems by Simon Perchik

There is no tunnel, you crawl
the way a turtle takes hold
and from the sidewalk a dry breeze

smelling from salt and two in the afternoon
--the crowd thinks the cup is for beggars
fill it so the air inside

will rise and you can breathe
one more time:  a tide
lets you survive in the open

though one cheek is dragged
over the other till your mouth
becomes a shell--all you can do

is drink from it
do what skies once did
filled with thirst and emptiness.

Without any flowers
you are still breathing
--without a throat

still eating the warm air
though what's left from the sun
is no longer blue

hides the way your grave
is covered with stones
and still hungry

--you could use more stones
a heaviness to become your arms
one for working harder

the other invisible
leaving, your heart
lifts from the dirt

your mouth, your eyes
and the sky letting go the Earth
as if you weigh too much.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free ebooks and his essay titled, "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three Poems by Patricia L. Goodman


As if from nowhere the sky
blackens with many-thousand

starlings, grackles, red-winged
blackbirds.  Their raspy harmony

overspreads the world
with unrelenting song,

like it could lift me, carry me
with them to freedom.

The clatter quiets as the birds alight
above the creek, bare trees

leafed with dark bodies--a theater
gone silent in the middle of an aria.

Then in a new swell of sound,
they lift again, swoop, swirl, vanish,

leave behind a haunting, a vacancy,
like waking one morning

your husband beside you, and falling
asleep that night, a widow.

Hawk Watch

It's a difficult kind of sky
the expert declares--no clouds
for reference, glare too bright.

Warm sun, slight breeze,
it's perfect for anything else.
Bald Eagle streaming south.

I raise my binoculars, can't locate
the bird.  How well
I remember learning

to distinguish house finches
from house sparrows;
different flight patterns

of woodpeckers.
It takes work.  Kestrel
heading our way from the notch.

This I see, rapid wing beats,
rusty back flashing in the sun.
When will I recognize

the darkness that deepens
as each August approaches--
the month he took his life?

The Lady and the Lion

For five days mountain lion tracks eluded us.
Narrow roads wound, claustrophobic,
between steep mountains.  Frigid streams

barreled through snow and ice
with the bravado of teenage boys
at a carnival.  Noses, fingers, toes grew cold

beyond feeling.  But there were still
no lion tracks.  On this Utah hunt a reporter
from Big Game Sport followed my husband

and me, his already-titled story to chronicle
a strong young mother braving the elements
to succeed in a man's sport.  Late on day five,

a gift--lion prints in crusty snow.
The dogs picked up scent, took off, treed
the cat in a tall pine.  I can't see it very well,

our guide told us.  It's not a big cat,
not what we were hoping for.  It looks young.
I'll leave it to you.  So it wasn't going to be

the monster male of every hunter's dream,
but we needed success, at least
for the reporter.  I would strive always

to be a good wife, ideal companion.  In truth
I was happier watching birds, listening
to trees breathe, didn't relish the killing . . .

What would you have done?

When the animal slid, lifeless
from the tree, it was just an adolescent,
last season's newborn, now on his own,

years from maturity.  At the moment,
I became blood on the snow, a starving
child in Siberia, a baby on a bayonet.

And I was the shadow walking silent
to the truck, riding cold back to camp,
willing that bullet back in the gun.

The reporter left, The Lady and the Lion
destined to be notes forgotten in a file,
photos undeveloped.  It was the last time

I fired a weapon.  Sometimes a martyr dies
and no one realizes it,
              not even those responsible.

Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother and grandmother, a graduate of Wells College with a degree in Biology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her career involved breeding and training horses with her orthodontist husband on their farm in Chadds Ford, PA.  She has had poems published in the likes of Aries, The Broadkill Review, Sugar Mule, Requiem Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Fox Chase Review, Mistletoe Madness, Storm Cycle, Poised in Flight (All from Kind of a Hurricane Press), On Our Own (Silver Boomer Books) and The Widow's Handbook.  Her first book, Closer to the Ground, was a finalist in the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Competition and she has twice won the Delaware Press Association Communications Award in poetry.  She lives on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in Delaware, where she is surrounded by the natural world she loves.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Poem by J.K. Durick

Feeding the Birds

Of course, there are thankless tasks, ones
That must be rewards in themselves, without
A wave or smile back, ones we always do
With nothing in return, and then wonder why

But it's a bit different with birds, they watch
They wait; anticipate our arrival in songs of
All sorts, the chirping chatter that passes for
Morning, for welcome if you listen carefully

Blue jays are first, would jump the line if
There was one; I've seen them put two whole
Peanuts in their mouths and try for a third
Push and flap the smaller, quieter birds away

Smaller birds are more persistent, trust that
There will be more after the jays and the crows
Have their fill, sparrows and juncos mostly
A finch or two, chickadees after a little while

Pigeons arrive later, whole clouds of them
Moving in unison, the slightest thing will send
Them flapping to the neighbor's roof, to coo
The annoying way they do, together in all this

We know them like this; they know us as well
Balance their begging with their beauty, flock
To us like loyal friends, greet us each morning
Like daybreak they thank us with their presence.

J.K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor.  His recent poems have appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Shot Glass Journal, and Eye on Life Magazine.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three Poems by Byron Beynon

The Heron

The heron sieves the water
with his eyes,
eliminates the trick of light,
side-glances this porous territory
where he resides,
a watchman
wading the feeding grounds
for his quota each day,
standing still,
concentrating on
the wrinkled flow beneath him;
his true shore
drifting home the long way
where borders pass
under strange skies,
his eddy mirrored and sculpted
in a resolute conduit.

The Red Kite

From the wilderness of air
where the dismissive winds blow,
you plunder and scavenge

to the earth below like an aeronautical
poacher, a razor eyed weight
on edge and alert with hunger,

a forked tail survivor
resilient and controlled,
the sky's natural blade unsheathed

tearing at a favored meal
during the new hours of summer;
a wing span and beak with a design

focused on the changing concerns of territory,
the sun's brutal shadow,
a sway of taut breath,

feathers out-fanned clutching at the dawn of blood,
at home with the ruined and instinctive
prey of your scattered horizons.

For the North Sea

They will not return
to that cycle of water,
the familiar rise and fall
of the tides.
No longer a salty orchard,
nor blue,
the sick heart is poisoned,
with only the sound
of a gentle tongue lapping.
A breeze of tears
escorts the broken
great sea.
In a sewer of splinters
horses that do not gallop
have been dumped,
while a circle of hills
in the deep mournful,
witness a locker
vandalized by indifference.

Byron Beynon lives in Wales.  His work has appeared in several publications including Jellyfish Whispers, London Magazine, Poetry Pacific, The Black Fox Literary Magazine, Poetry Wales and Quadrant (Australia).  Collections include Cuffs (Rack Press), Nocturne in Blue (Lapwing Publications, Belfast) and the Echoing Coastline (Agenda Editions).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Poem by Ken L. Jones

The Pollen of Lamenting

Long night eases into an orange ocean
Winter is a vintage shop
As woozy and haunted as a Christmas tree
Now that the holidays have stopped
And in these sea beds so like mother's milk
In a midnight made of straw I dissolve into
The moonless fever of the dreamless sleeper in us all
Until in the patchwork trees is risen an amusement park
Sometimes called the moon whose siren is so sweet to me
That I must answer soon its call

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Poem by Rick Hartwell

Reclamation Project

I watch antics reminiscent of adolescence,
gold butterflies in wanton flight,
wandering from bud to bloom to blossom,
to voyage again sans duplication.

Seemingly random, indiscriminant soaring
without filing a flight plan
appears appropriate for fragile butterflies,
then why not for me?

Although no longer randomly pubescent,
we are alike, butterflies and I,
not flitting nor wandering, past flourishing,
but with life comprehended

Tired and tattered wings signal our lives
near spent, cycles completed;
slowed by exhaustion, yet fulfilled, we too,
flutter finally down to earth.

Such is the way and the path and the plan,
all remains to be recycled, any
butterfly remorse or personal repentance
overcome by newly freed spirits.

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school English teacher living in Southern California.  He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity.  Given his druthers, if he's not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.  He can be reached at

Friday, April 17, 2015

Three Poems by William G. Davies, Jr.


There are blossoms
strewn across the chair
where you were sitting
last night talking to me
and now, lovely reminders
of your sentences reincarnated.


The birds, lithe
on the new snow
buoyant as channel markers
in a vast, white sea.
They bob;
red, blue, black.


The trees are lesions
on new snow
the way Beelzebub
diminishes God's beauty
one mirage at a time.

William G. Davies, Jr. will have a collection, "Before There Were Bones," published by Prolific Press in 2015.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two Poems by Judith Skillman

Quail Trail

A highway of arrows, pointed diamonds left in the snow by birds who never take to the sky.  A sensible direction, yet they are invisible and have left the fatigue of injury, of an accident on ice.  Mascots for the family, the domestic mis on scene.  In spring you became one of them--a woman lying down, warm-needled grounds belonging to human and bird alike.  They appealed because they moved as one, flocking for grubs, and for the worm from which the color cinnabar came.  As if these prints were bread crumbs you'll follow them to the edge of the earth, believe in flatland, the violin, the book with its soft covers to open and read.  Nothing backlit, no beeps nor virtual reality, only the trill--sharp beaks pecking.

The North Stream

A little brook singing to itself
as only water can, music
of descent from cold, snowmelt
lacerated by dawn, the telling
of nothing again and over,
that refrain soft in the body,
that tapestry palpable
as a drawer that sticks.

A coming to, as from sleep
or grief, pain lessening enough
to run a little secret past the greats
who intimidate.  If it's only water
so much the better.

Goats beard flocking the uncles
and aunts, the fancy of that--
she pauses, puts the instrument
down on the bed, wipes sweat
from her neck, thinks of Hemingway
how he killed himself at sixty,
looks over the score--aha,
an entrance just there, after
the first violinist's impeccable solo.

A little fountain spurting.
Rules broken, contingencies not let
matter, the forever bird
tuning up.  A little squeak
as the conveyance continues,
its mistakes ignored, its meanderings
beholden to principle:  the audience
remembers the beginning and end,
these deep waters pouring for her
green-blue then, grief-blue now.

A little creek by which she numbs
her lips with ices, says, if only
to those eucalyptus trees that stumped
her with the scribbly sap and curls
of bark, yes, I will practice being
the music, yes, I will stay inside
the sheets, sleep my way back
into a small dream about very much.

Judith Skillman's new book is Angles of Separation, Glass Lyre Press 2014.  Her work has appeared in Tampa Review, Cimarron Review, Tar River Poetry, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Southern Review, Poetry, New Poets of the American West, and other journals and anthologies.  Skillman is the recipient of grants from the Academy of American Poets, Washington State Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission.  She has taught at City University, Richard Hugo House, Yellow Wood Academy, and elsewhere.  Visit

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Poem by Rachel Weisserman

October is a Liar

I dreamed the corn grew too fast
and we were lost in it.  I felt a crow
brush her wings against my back,
promising wisdom if I'd just feed her
and her babies.  One eye could sate
their hunger all winter.  The other
could see the way the crops grew.

I dreamed the clouds were hurting
the sky.  The rain was slick and warm
against my skin, and then needle-cold,
I asked a tree to protect me; she gave
me fire, a blanket of leaves, and the
storm tore it to shreds.  That night
I woke up and smelled smoke.

Rachel Weisserman somehow managed to graduate from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor's of Science in English.  She has written several stories under the name R.W. Whitefield for, and has self-published one chapbook.  In late 2012, she began hosting Spirit Spit Open Mic in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit.  She is the proud owner of two cats and Elmore Leonard's breakfast table.