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:  www.sarahdoyle.co.uk

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 www.simonperchik.com.

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.