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 rdhartwell@gmail.com

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 www.judithskillman.com

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 ForbiddenFiction.com, 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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Two Poems by Susan Dale

A Page of Spring

A morning song climbs the skies
Ah, the loving kindness
          of April


Cherry blossom in bloom
Melting the fortress
          of winter


Ribs of rainbows
     arching to
A ceremony of sun and skies

Winter's fat form
Steel white, to silver
slivers of ice
To rumble with thunder
To melt into puddles
To a rain of promises
To mushrooms under oaks
To forsythia's arms spread wide
To leaves on the trees
To April shouting
a golden splash of daffodils

January Morning

Melancholy season
devoured in a single breath
by a chenille veil
Thrown across
a January morning

Susan Dale's poems and fiction are on Kind of  a Hurricane Press, Ken*Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Feathered Flounder, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue.  In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.  She has two published chapbooks on the internet:  Spaces Among Spaces by languageandculture.org and Bending the Spaces of Time by Barometric Pressures Author's Series.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Poem by Duane L. Herrmann

The Wasp

In the window trapped
between two panes of glass,
it flies up, down, across,
trying to find a way
through invisible glass.
It can't get out,
I won't let it in.
It will die in prison
and I will be relieved.

Duane L. Herrmann, 1989 recipient of the Hayden Poetry Fellowship, lives on the Kansas prairie reflected in Prairies of Possibilities.  His poetry is in:  American Poets of the 1990's, CyclamenandSwords, Flint Hills Review, Little Balkans Review, Midwest Quarterly, Orison, Planet Kansas, Whirlwind Review, Map of Kansas Literature (website) and others.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Poem by David Lymanstall

Spring Spectacle

Skeletons of rosemary and stonecrop,
Hydrangea and aster,
Their roots still clinging to the soil,
Were left with intent
To brave a winter harsh and cold,
To stand tall through stinging winds,
Witness the rebirth of a garden about to stir.

Their brittle remains,
Like elderly souls
With wisdom and grace,
Seem to welcome and foster
Every emerging sharp blade of lily,
Every feathery, soft clump of new yarrow,
Every unfurling green fern.

Timeworn seed heads, tired and bent,
Look down with a doting glance
At each tender shoot,
The brown with the green,
The old with the new,
What was and what is,
Shepherding the spectacle of rebirth.

There comes the day each year,
Just after the vernal equinox,
Before full blown spring,
When the gate to the garden
Adorned with a grinning green man,
Opens after being closed for the winter,
Inviting all to enter for a celebration.

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.