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.