Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Three Poems by Michael Keshigian

Mt. Washington Cougar

As far as mountains go, it's not very tall
though its winter personality is precariously erratic
and the most difficult to tame.
But during the summer and in my boots,
I climb and climb the various trails
until every foot of its six thousand plus
are behind me and nothing remains
but blue sky, bald summit observatory
and a green beard,
reaching outward all around.
On a clear day, in one complete turn,
I can see the ocean, the concrete peaks
of a city over one hundred miles away,
westward hills humped like camels
against the melting sky,
and northward, another country.
Yet the most striking vision of all
stepped out from a cloud of maples
and padded along the brink,
sure footed and unafraid,
a magnificent cat perusing her property.
Her wide gold face was interrupted
with a white muzzle, intense hazel eyes
and black lips that curled a subtle snarl,
her shoulders vibrated and her tail swayed
as if to sickle the wildflowers.
Moments later she was gone, leaving me alone
to contemplate her perfection,
a lean and muscular mystery
that belonged to the achievement
that was the mountain,
home to such creatures
whose distinction is nature's miracle,
randomly revealing themselves
from the waterfalls, forests,
and unencumbered caves of this idyllic green cage.

Flowers Along the Path

Fickle flowers with your collection of colors,
summer is the season you flourish,
a time when you demand
precise attention from sunlight
and a beverage from the clouds,
lest you wilt with a crusty edge
while the wind steals away
random petals, unlike brethren trees
with branches that bear
the weight of winter's calamity,
you hibernate, snuggled
beneath a frozen pod of sod
then dance enthusiastically in Spring
beneath lightening and rain
while others seek cover.
You would shrivel
should the clouds abstain.
What schemes do you concoct
in starlight as you ready
to fulfill the drone's sweet appetite,
secrets hidden well within your corona,
a watchful eye that guards
your fragile disposition.
To those of us that daily pass
your handsome trail,
our troubles buried deep within,
your smile provides a welcome distraction,
your scent an intoxication
that momentarily vanquished worry.


All day
I've listened to the song
of a single cardinal

ripple stillness
just outside my office window.
An opera in red tux

his throat is a spring
stretching an aria
through the cluttered house

of sound, awakening memories
of events since past.
The timbre enlivens my heart.

I can almost touch
what once was
as it floats between

song and wind.  An inflection
so crisp, that I'm convinced
that cardinal sings for more

than to merely texture
the commotion.  His tune
incites another gift.

He performs daily,
tireless and without hoarseness,
to make sad hearts flutter.

Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, had his twelfth poetry collection, Into the Light, released in April 2017, by Flutter Press.  He has been published in numerous national and international journals including Oyez Review, Red River Review, Sierra Nevada College Review, Oklahoma Review, Chiron Review, and has appeared as a feature writer in over twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations.  (michaelkeshigian.com)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Three Poems by Cleo Griffith

Across the Blue

How teasing, these clouds,
these diaphanous streams across the blue,
scarves dropped from a dancer
now on the other side of the mountains,
feathers from a giant, yet light-weight owl,
layers like whipped frosting spread with sky-spatula,

they dim the sunlight but little,
promise no rain to this dry valley
but, carefree, float romantically
without haste, for having no delivery to make
time is of no essence.  Oh pretty gatherings,
would that you could join yourselves,
become massive, dark and heavy,
and share your beauty even more through
the water that shapes you.

Crepe Myrtle

By the time crepe myrtle blooms pink,
almond orchards have greened,
the neighbor's peach-colored roses
softly outlined their short driveway.

By the time crepe myrtle blossoms pink
iris have given their purple salutes,
expired into dark shriveled nubs.

Before crepe myrtle flowers pink,
lemon blossoms scent the neighborhood,
the resident blue jay squawks from the nectarine tree
anxious for the small green bulbs
to expand to pink-blending-red globes of dinner.

Crepe myrtle pushes pale pink buds
among chartreuse leaves, take over the back yard
until Fall when it sprinkles its pastel bounty
across my green lawn.

My Season's Sky

There is no welcome stream along our property
nor river close where we can browse.
Large gray cranes do not rise from a bank
across wide blue sky,
but I have seen many attractions such as today's
early afternoon flock of white doves,
each etched and colored in my mind.
I've seen more than twenty-nine thousand sunsets
still I marvel at my season's sky
where crimson lights the peaked evening clouds
just before I pull the blinds at night.
Each leafless tree of winter's days
remind me of the lime-green wealth of spring
in all the many towns in which I've loved,
no place that was all bad, all good, but balanced
always by one of nature's joys--
summer thunderstorms, winter's icy sculptures,
one ocean's roar or the warmth of another's shore,
massive green of rain forests, wide desert plain.
Whatever is not here, still is with me as I have seen
the water and the wind, the mountain and the sea,
ghosts as real as my eyes, ears and grateful heart.

Cleo Griffith was Chair of the Editorial Board of Song of the San Joaquin for its first twelve years and remains on the Board.  Widely published, she lives in Salida, CA, with her husband, Tom, and their tabby, Tank.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Three Haiku Strings from Don Mager

Haiku String #38
(Prague in March)

March washed dry leaves
along the bridge curbs--flocks of
little birds gusting

against a big wind.
The wind swoops down like hawks to
follow the river's

brackish elbows.  It
laps the castle walls and the
shuttered shop windows

and children huddle
outside closed school yards.
Wind holds a cold claw.

One must live with false
beginnings that come knocking
and knocking again,

for when the solemn
vocation arrives at one's
doorstep, without them,

one would not know how
to let the door swing open.
One's terror would not

know how to grow vast.

Haiku String #41
(Petersburg in May)

The eastern Baltic
wind rides with the larger sun.
The oaks are bragging

in their new leaves while
pines backdrop themselves like a 
chorus of dancers

who sink into the
blue shadows as the prima
ballerina swirls

incessantly on
one toe.  Birds birds birds applaud
applaud applaud.  And

then, suddenly, you
notice, the fountains have been
turned on in the parks.

Water and light are
whispering their tireless
duet.  You cup it

in your palm--first light,
then water--and spill your lap
with it, palm after

palm, until through the
coarse fabric, chill tongues your thigh,
Baltic tongues your hair.

Haiku String #42
(Paris in May)

Gray rain falls in sheets
like slabs of slate onto black
umbrellas tipped to

brace against the wind.
The sheen on them glistens like
ravens' wings.  Beneath,

heads are bent like tucked
heads of birds.  Ash gray faces,
from which expression

has been wiped away,
as an academician
might wipe the slateboard

of chalk at the end
of a ponderous lecture,
stare down.  They look to

cobbles and puddles
which glisten like old scratched-up
mirrors from which the

silver backing has
become flaked.  The faces in
the puddles stare from

tucked heads and their eyes
are holes.  Day after day in
May, crowds in rain flow

corteges across
bridges.  None seem to have a
destination to

which it intends to
arrive.  Each umbrella's sheen
braces to the wind.

Don Mager's chapbooks and volumes are To Track The Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook, Drive Time, and Russian Riffs.  He is retired and was Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University where he also served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.  As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian.  In the 1970s he published articles and reviews on Gay Liberation.  He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his partner of 36 years.  They have three sons and two granddaughters.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Poem by Richard L. Ratliff


Snow is both sides of the same page
It covers the grave and the tulip
It holds the heat in and reflects it back
While falling it hides your passage
When finished it documents your path

Richard L. Ratliff is a baby boomer, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana.  His Mid-West ties have built the foundation and setting for his poetry.  He is a Purdue University graduate, with two years of engineering that turned into a degree in English Literature, along with being a two-year letterman in wrestling.  All of these eclectic combinations have given him a career as a boiler and combustion expert and poet.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

on retreat

lay aside those
lists of things
to worship
a nearby path
through the aspen
has daydreams of
wild orchids beside
emerald lakes and
beckons to bare
bone and heart

ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran, hospice nurse, ex-roughneck (as on oil rigs) lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/140+ issues) with poetry published worldwide (and deeply appreciated), he is also online at https://bearcreekhaiku.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Poem by David Subacchi

Nothing Sailing

A winter afternoon
At the best table
With sea views,
Starlings swirling
Around the pier,
Half-hearted joggers
In fading light
And gulls hovering
With little confindence
Of unguarded takeaways.

In the bay waves ripple
In a non-committal
Sort of way,
For nothing sails
In this greyness;
Even the lifeboat
Is locked away;
They are preparing it
For the next launch.

David Subacchi lives in Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots.  He studied at the University of Liverpool and writes in English, Welsh and Italian.  He has four published collections of his poetry in English and one in Welsh.  David's blog with more examples of his poetry can be found at:  http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Four Poems by Don Thompson


It's not warm enough to ripen
The year's last, hoped-for figs,
Still green with leaves
Turning brown around them.


Mimosa sunlight in the nut groves
Early on opening day.
Champagne pop of .410 shotguns:
Tonight, drink to the fallen doves.


Autumn's anthem:  Bees
Humming in the Chinese elms.
When there's no more honey to make,
They make music.


Contrarian ghosts haunt us
At noon, seething in the heat.
Malevolence like that
Will keep you awake all night.

Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.  For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thopson.com

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Three Poems by Dah

Cicadas Coyotes Future

Sounds from the day have died
but the meaning
is still here.  The future does not
reject this,
does not block the view

Birds have tied themselves
to perches, wings
tucked under, eyes inward,
songs put away

There's an endless drone
of cicadas,
their hard wings
are night-buzzers vibrating

Dew quells the desert dust.
The cicada's noise
is like a high-voltage storm
and with an old-world sound
coyotes voice their opinion


The light has eyes
the light has ears
we are eternally dead

The dark has teeth
the dark has blood
we are eternally dead

The sky has hands
the sky has voices
we are eternally dead

The wind has bellies
the wind has hunger
we are eternally dead

The earth has feet
the earth has lips
we are eternally dead

The rocks have breath
the rocks have shoulders
we are eternally dead

The rivers have lungs
the rivers have fingers
we are eternally dead

The sand has ears
the sand has toes
we are eternally dead

Silence has words
silence has hearing
we are eternally dead


Seeds milk the sun's tit
ingesting heat,
seeking roots
moisture, depth,
splitting rocks
upon formation

If you hold a seed with roots
you'll become a grounding rod
There are no words for this:

lets call it, beginning.  No,
lets call it, in the beginning dark
composed us

therefore, Desire is a floral
intimacy:  a fruit
bursting forth, like a verb,
the tree shakes, an apple falls,
sparrows take the sky with wings
of evolution:  crawling

like a root, a legless reptile,
suggestive as the apple
and from this, the original bruise

Dah's sixth poetry collection is The Opening (CTU Publishing, 2018) and his poetry has been published by editors from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, China, Singapore, Spain, Australia, Africa, Poland, Philippines and India.  His poems have recently appeared in Straylight Magazine, Otoliths, The Cape Rock, Acumen Journal, Sandy River Review, Indian River Review, and Junto Magazine.  Dah lives in Berkeley, California and is working on the manuscript for his ninth poetry book.  He is Pushcart Prize nominee and the lead editor of The Lounge, a poetry critique group.  Dah's seventh book is forthcoming in July 2018 from Transcendent Zero Press, with his eighth book forthcoming in November 2018 from Stillpoint Books.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Poem by Christopher Kenneth Hanson

On A Bridge Near Trout Point Lodge
                                         [Nova Scotia, August 2017]

We stand on a shoddy wooden plank bridge
facing a setting sun- still- overlooking-
& underneath-a beautiful quick
flowing river,

there are rocks of various
sizes ribbed & jagged- sticking out
here and there in the current-

the rocks, scattered about the current
make spots & lines of the river appear

rust-iron red as the river streams bounce & hiccup
via the grooves of eroded rock & green moss
marked surfaces-

the deep dark blue water snakes past &
crisply shimmers off the protruding rocks-

various frayed stick-wood pieces sit awkwardly &
haphazardly- via way of the swift current-

milk-white foam bubbles whirl
in shallow parts of the river body now;

dusky currents rest via some
tepid pockets; the rays of sun

peek through bold green pine trees
which line the cobble stone paths-

Originally bringing us
to the bridge-

Christopher Kenneth Hanson is an interesting poet hailing from New Jersey, USA.  Christopher has had poems published in suave journals/magazines and has created visual art and fiction stories including composing alternative music as well.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Three Poems by Carol Alena Aronoff


Twilight gathers dusky wings
into long sleeves of evening,
dreams through the night.
Moon silk lights the way to dawn
awakening tide pools and travelers.

Wind moves between time with
ease as if knowing timelessness.
What if we could live as seamlessly
with no resistance?  What if time
and matter didn't matter?

As sun pays homage to morning
in ribbons of mauve and apricot,
it leaves the rest of the day in our
hands.  We can find miracles beneath
small rocks or fault lines in sand.

A Place for Hummingbirds

A clutch of hummingbird eggs nestled
in seed down and feathers, bound
together with spider silk, adorned
with paint chips and flowers, rests
in the pocket of an apron left hanging
on a clothesline.  Safe from predators,
protected from wind.

A light bulb in the basement, beneath
a bridge, in a culvert or deep ravine.
In the unremembered.  The thin shell
between us where we hide what's
most precious.  Where we break.

Out of sight, in that cradle of silence,
the cocooning of seedlings and small
things.  A fluttering, giving vent to
birthing its opposite to see itself.

Those moments when forgetting
is an art form, spectacular sunrise
free of restraint, we revel in the absence
of veils and artifice, all separation,
and recognize the call of bird wings
to a more authentic even dangerous
place to rest.

An aerie open on all sides with no
ground.  Nameless.  No maps or
hidden corners, a seamless flow
of river and rain.  We cannot abide
there too long, just long enough
for understanding to dawn.
Like hummingbirds, we seek refuge


Dried leaves and twigs shaped round,
resting in the crook of a lemon tree.
A hint of blossoms to soften night's air,
the intimacy of feathers settling in
to roost.  A place for dreaming.

Safe . . . moon calls, igniting
the nest in a spray of silver.
Remember you can wrap yourself
in solitude or claim the fellowship
of sparrows and shadows.

Borrowing the wings of an owl, I search
my heart for the feeling of home, that
realm where my spirit can rest.  Do I
need to let go of everything I know,
all that I am, to fly without reference
to a place I never left?

Carol Alena Aronoff, PhD, is a psychologist, teacher and writer.  Her poetry has been published in Comstock Review, Poetica, Sendero, Buckly&, Asphodel, Tiger's Eye, Cyclamens & Swords, Quill & Parchment, Avocet, Bosque, 200 New Mexico Poems, Women Write Resistance, Before There is Nowhere to Stand, Malala:  Poems for Malala Yousafzai, et al.  She was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, participated in Braided Lives, collaboration of artists/poets, Ekphrasis:  Sacred Stories of the Southwest, and (A) Muses Poster Retrospective for the 2014 Taos Fall Arts Festival.  The Nature of Music was published by Blue Dolphin Publishing in 2005, Cornsilk in 2006, Her Soup Made the Moon Weep in 2007, Blessings from an Unseen World in 2013, and Dreaming Earth's Body in 2015.  Currently, she resides in rural Hawaii--working her land, meditating in nature and writing.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Poem by Fanny Suto


All this wasted sunshine
If I had green cells I could
transform light into food
we could learn a lot
from trees
Also patience
standing in the same place for years
sometimes centuries
While I
can't stay here for more than an hour.
When I say "immortal"
why do you think of vampires
when you should think of trees.

But maybe when they think
nobody is looking
they walk around at night
dancing around the lawn
swaying their long leaf hands.

Fanni Suto writes poetry, short stories and a growing number of novels-in-progress.  She published in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music.  She writes about everything which comes her way or goes bump in the night.  She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.  Previous publications include:  The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation, and Fundead Publications.  Website:  www.inkmapsandmacarons.com 

Monday, February 5, 2018

A Poem by Sandra T. Adeyeye

By the River of Cassandra

By the River of Cassandra,
Where dreams live on tall trees,
The sky meets blood streams,
In rain, allies are found.

By the River of Cassandra,
Blood of bulls flow at the altar,
The thunder and lightning cackle,
Like a predator against a cattle.

By the River of Cassandra,
Pity is eroded by scarred bravery,
The earth quakes at misery,
Tears twinkle as stars.

By the River of Cassandra,
When the moon and sun collide,
The mountains refuse to be hiked,
The grass remains marked.

By the River of Cassandra,
The dawn breaks on the new born,
In a pouch, two does and one buck,
Breast milk and veggies builder of body strands.

By the River of Cassandra,
Ice wind sweeps through the planet.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Three Poems from Sarah L. Hill

Lost Fields

walking to the school bus
autumn and spring
the morning dew heavy
on the clover

black-eyed susans bent their heavy
necks trying to reflect back the sun
serenaded by insects
the timothy gathered weight
through summer
shorn close in waning light
cubed as sugar tanned and dry

this long walk uphill
we once ran down
seldom pausing to breathe the scents
of earth  flowers  grass
to gaze at the blue or cloud brushed sky
reflected in the distant lake

the cows and horses
once hayed for
are long since gone
and so followed the fields

we would not have believed
the neighbor's house at the roadside
would someday be missed
lost within a manse
gobbled up like a caper
forgotten with the chaff

Shadows in Flight

the crows flew
several days ago

three growing
once cramped
in an ever-shrinking nest
attempt balance
on the branches
and try to spring
to catch the air
with spreading wings and flap

one flies and leaves the others behind
they hold out another day
jealously clinging to branches
watching their sibling
swooping between wires and trees

the others flew in the morning
I watched from behind the glass pane
cheering like a proud aunt

they slept in the tree again that night
heavy wing beats have recently
announced daybreak as they attempt
to turn, to rise, to survey our lawns
in the early

when later I slip outside to walk
they greet me
all three plus one
who cackles and throws his neck forward
in my direction
which weeks earlier
may have made me jump or gasp in surprise
I bid him good morning from the ground
nod in kind
to the others

they regard me
with wary eyes
how can they know
I have watched them so long
that I count myself family

Garden Yamadanchi

with a spot of white
a lone dragonfly skitters
straight and directed
over the pond's surface

a ribbon of sea green
flickering with movement
the butterfly alights
on a tree and competes for the breeze

and sudden a fin slices
the water parts and speaks in ripples
a flash of orange breaks the surface

as a breeze blown leaf
a turtle trolls through the pond
head peering at the world
cheek smeared with a line of rouge

with full-body purpose
birds step carefully
in   then out
feathers scattering shining droplets

descends upon the shore, dispersing the others
moves jauntily
tests the water
gazes sideways at this crow reflection
tastes a plant
looks about with beak agape.

Sarah L. Hill has lived and worked on three continents and currently resides in Arlington, MA.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Four Poems from Adam Levon Brown

Nymphs Advocate for Justice on the Stone of Hera

Jeweled-encrusted tombs placate in places of ruins
to be ransacked by the unworthy eyes of wrath

Bliss exudes beatitude in breaths of ease and wealth,
searching for malignance to disembody

Nuanced pragmatism shuttles forth breaking time
with cult-flower memorization in flavors of teal

Pyre-dancing nymphs salivate for hyacinths
of justice, while purloinings manifested in paradise

Makings of granite pride advocate for seasons
of carnation-bled freedom in sounds of pink

Nascent Eyes Ogle Flesh of Pineapple Shrills

Pomegranate flesh eats the scents of foxgloves
while mounting pineapple taste buds in cloves

Dissident mules of aged holly flood channels
into decadent springs which marvel at oceans

Poppies of gray drive away incense in mills
of pebble gateways, growing with fevering nettles

Crimson lust vacates brick-mortar homes
and spirals through trees of brushwood brightness

Hilltop swing-jazz mixed with calls of birds
shrills, overcome nascent eyes ogling silver lore

Acorned squirrels scuttle across myopic tree
branches, reaching for dove-quaked love

Cheetah Runs with Orchid-bloom Resonance

Liquids of steel-shone Orchids bloom wildly
next to oats of harvest-tuned holly.
Breaths of Iris escape the mouths of joy,

bringing swelling lips to taste simplicity
in washing waves of decadent crispness.
Evergreen palace of green and bark seep

into ears of highway-piled motorways
which fly on mossy wings of paradise.
Bottles holding oceans waiting for messages

from moon-tide blessings bring yearning.
Jilting crescent earnings move forward,
bringing ides of monolithic space to cry

heaven into a pool of love-ridden guilt.
Posh undertakings of wood and stone
build new archways in architecture

filled with decency and optimistic sway.
Miles of cheetah-paw walk with human
hand, hoping to find the path to purity.

Heaven and Hell on the River Bed Named Life

Pregnant oleander searches for climbing ivy
in sunset delicacy, pushing away ladders of ghosts

Preening feathers of guilt from the bust of Eagle-tipped
negligence, wild branch soars among hawks of steel

Moray steel monarchic order filets salmon on beds
of rice, only to be captured in talons of perch-fed heron

Jilted clovers gild rivers of isometric compassion
storming mountains with wildflower sonnet escape

Prong-ridden fire escape crawfish wriggle into depths,
hidden beneath high-rock nebulas, hoping for sanity

Hectic highway of water capitulates to the brazen
dust which settles on its floors, purifying heaven from hell