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Michael Lee Johnson
 
If I Were Young Again
 
Piecemeal summer dies.
The spread of long winter blanket again.
 
For ten years I have lived in exile,
Locked in this rickety cabin, shoulder
Pushed up against the open Alberta sky.
If I were young again I'd sing of the coolness of high
Mountain snow flowers, the sprinkle of night glow-blue
Meadows;
I would dream & stretch slim fingers into the distant nowhere,
Yawn slowly over the endless prairie miles.
 
Prairie & grassland where in summer silence grows
& spreads eagle wings out like warm honey.
 
If I were young again I'd eat pine cones, food of birds,
Share meals with wild animals; I'd have as much dessert as wanted,
Reach out into blue sky & lick the clouds off my fingers.
 
But I'm not young anymore & my thoughts torment,
Are raw & overworked, sharpened misery from torture
Of war & childhood.
 
For ten years now I have lived locked in this unstable cabin,
Inside the rush of summer winds,
Outside the air beaten dim with snow.
 
Michael Lee Johnson lives in Chicago, IL after spending 10 years in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) during the Viet Nam era. He is a freelance writer and poet, interested in social and religious topics, and the need for universal health care in the United States. He is presently self-employed, with a previous background in social service areas. He has a B.A. degree in sociology and worked on a Masters Program in Correctional Administration. Michael writes, "I have had a huge box of "unfinished" poems in a large box for 40 yrs, dating back to 1965-67.  They are getting published faster than I can revive or revise them.  Yellowed paper, napkins and all.  I have not submitted poems since the early 70's the "old fashioned" way via mail." 
 
  poetryman@walla.com


 
Andrew Grossman
 
Crucifix in the shape of wind turbines
 
 
row upon row
on gray mesas,
turbines grind at the sky
 
                                                progress across texas
is slow
the engine burns scrub, emits smoke
 
blue has been consumed
                                clouds, lightning
 
now we start in on the stars
their heavy eyes
 
beyond the medicated
radio voice
the wind dies
 
we are adrift
high up looking down
 
Andrew Grossman’s poem, “The Efficient Nurses of Florida ” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  His work has been widely published and anthologized.  Grossman’s new book is 100 Poems of the Iraqi Wars.  He resides with his wife, Nancy Terrell, in Palm Beach Gardens , Florida .
 
andrew@andrewgrossman.net
 


Barbara Lovenheim
 
Skunk Hour Redux
 
Robert, Anne, and Sylvia toast their confessions
in a Back Bay Boston bar
shielded from the chill of a bitter-cold nor’easter.
 
Insanity and death are never far away,
mixing with mentholated cigarette smoke
and frayed, half-filled notebooks stacked on the table.
 
The future uncurls in a path of words
spoken by the trinity in their holy books.
Outside a skunk roots in the frozen leftovers,
and will survive them all.
 

 

In Heat

The winter heat of 110 surprises the locals
who have learned that life is a daily
contest in the brown dirt of Death Valley.
The heat melts into a dust storm
where particles shimmy into all parts of life
leaving a coating that shawls everything.
I hesitantly step onto the slick salt marsh
where the pickleweed delights in the salty earth
turning its pickle-shaped leaves to the blistering sun.
The Joshua Tree, yucca brevifolia,
lifts its two hundred-year old arms
in supplication to a demanding god.
Named by the early Mormon settlers,
it stands twenty feet tall, with outstretched arms,
nests for birds of twenty-five varieties .
In Death Valley, life
blossoms, grows, adapts, struggles, waits
in each crevice and moment.
Every creature uses that
which could destroy it to survive.
I plant myself here with hope.

Barbara Lovenheim, with fellow poet and colleague Tony Leuzzi, created Skunk Hour at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, a time set aside for creative reading.

 

Alex Galper
 
Che Guevaraâ's Diet
 
The way Guevara attempted to put Latin America on fire of revolution
I try to shed some pounds,
Che counted every bullet before landing in Venezuela ,
I count every damn calorie.
he fought his way out of the jungles,
I've battled third day in a row
my bloody war with creamy donuts.
Guevara ran surrounded
I'm encircled by blueberry cheesecakes.
it is everywhere,
at work, home, guests'
bad capitalist cheesecakes!
like Guevara was ambushed and captured,
I absolutely coincidentally entered a bakery,
bold revolutionary hollowed:
"you can't kill me!
I'm the very Che Guevara himself!"
and I screamed:
"you can't sell me this, this and that one!
I'm Galper!
I should fly after girls,
and not roll like a wheel".
too bad, execution's squad's eyes are emotionless,
and tough honey cake and pitiless cream-Brule
are deaf to great romantic plans
and bee-bullets fly out of the bee-house of rifles,
and Che falls down in nameless pit of Eternal Life
and progressive humanity breaks down in tears,
and weak Galper falls into bed,
snoring, unable to move a finger,
and the Ideal of Womanhood departs cursing and untouched.
 

 

Alex Galper came to America at the age of 19. Having successfully graduated from Brooklyn College, majoring in English, did not make him write in English. He still creates in his first language, ussian. Alex works as a caseworker for the City of New York and moonlights as a cab-driver, making just enough money to finance his frequent trips to Russia where he is considered a "Cult Underground Poet" and avoided by mainstream literary publishing houses for being "too-American" and even "pornographic.” Translations of his works have been published in over 30 magazines all over the English-speaking world.
 
 


Frank Judge
 

 

Cape Horn

We haven't picked out
our special earrings,
haven't designed
our own tattoos yet.

The days have grown calm,
the surface as flat
as glass reflecting the
slate sky. We go
to sleep in that
unnatural stillness,
night after night, the
warmth and stillness.

But soon an electric
voice echoes off
the bulkheads, advising
we secure ourselves.

What security is there,
where can we run
as we round The Horn,
thunder rumbling,
shaking us as the seas
threaten to swamp us?

What feels like years
may just be hours.
We struggle to reach
the deck, to find
the lifeboats but
soon find there are none,
not even a deck we
can find to pass for land.

The air grows steadily
colder, snow peaks
arrive from the horizon.
We know we'll never round
The Horn, never reach land again.
The decks are empty. We
have each other but
that will not be enough.


Haiku
 
Full moon
caught in spring branches.
I watch her smiling, naked
 
New lovers --
cartographers in
uncharted country
 
Almost 60
how many full moons
have I overlooked?

Frank Judge was Literary Director of the Pyramid Arts Center in Rochester before founding SNS, a feature news service, in 1981. In 2003, he was among 200 poets chosen for the printed anthology, Poets Against the War. In addition to being the Rochester coordinator for Poets Against the War, he’s also the current president of Rochester Poets. Recently, he's also been working in area high schools with other "Peace Poets," introducing students to anti-war/peace poety.