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Carol Hamilton
The Color of Life
 
From the open windows
of our narrow gauge train
we watch the checkerboard
of rice fields pass as foreground
to the jungle of dark and distant hills.
Each plot grows at a different stage,
every fifth one fallow
to renew depleted soil.
Scented air blows in as we pass,
and our eyes hurt with emerald
from the recently-ripened.
She says this is the color of life.
Indeed, I can cartwheel and backbend
once again as I drown in this green.
 
 
Rolly, Polly Things
 
We had long hours to kill,
to play outside.  We amused ourselves
sliding beads of mercury about
in our sweat-and-grit-creased palms.
Against the smell of lilacs and cut grass
let loose by fathers with push mowers,
we slipped sow bugs hand to hand,
their frail shells a shine
of ridged silver, wispy feet
showing when they relaxed a bit.
We rolled down hillsides to get itchy all over,
and formed patriotic balls of thin foil
for the war effort if we could find
sticks of Wrigley's spearmint gum
with its shiny wrappers.
Round rocks were no good for hopscotch
but were perfect for hammering open
to discover the shine of schist inside.
Our hours rolled by, the shared
boredom patted together
to slip back and forth
from hand to hand.
 
 
Fame:  Gwen John
 
Her brother predicted history
would remember him
as Gwen's brother. He named
her greatest painter of their age.
She is known as Rodin's lover.
A few portraits hang still
in London and New York.
Have we heard she was part
of the famous Armory Show?
Here at 24, her self portrait is cocky,
a huge black bow at her neck,
a huge rusty bow at her tiny waist,
she stares down her nose at us.
She seems a stern schoolmarm,
though her beautifully painted hand,
fingers splayed across her belt and bow,
is surely a creator's.
Have we heard of Rodin?
Have we heard of John?
 
 
  
 

Two Atmospheres
 
Women poets, not famous,
each gyring towards death.
Their homes thrummed
with love of words, one patchouli oil,
the other first bite of autumn apple.
I met one in the light-dim halls
of the university, her eyebrows
and lids heavily blacked, make-up
thick, her face a pale mask.
Her room above a garage,
two blocks off the college traffic,
waited, full of past. A poem
in the Atlantic remembered still,
she expectant of more
day by day in that brocaded air.
The other in her tiny, self-elegied
town, walls speaking delight
in smallest detail,
her own chosen three-word name
alilt in the tidy air.
She snipped grapes
off the stem for my lunch,
each crisp and juice-filled.
Both poets died, words tensed yet,
ready for the starting shot,
ready to spring from their soon-silent lips.

Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in ATLANTA REVIEW, NEW LAUREL REVIEW, POET LORE,  SAN PEDRO RIVER REVIEW, LICKING RIVER REVIEW, THE PENMEN REVIEW, GREEN HILLS LITERARY LANTERN, POEM, TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY, WILLOW REVIEW,  DERONDA REVIEW,   REED, COLERE, RED ROCK REVIEW, MAIN STREET RAG,  CONNECTICUT RIVER REVIEW,  TRIBECA POETRY as well as MILLER'S POND and others.  Her most books are MASTER OF THEATER: PETER THE GREAT, and LEGERDEMAIN.  She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.


Jason Constantine Ford
Looking Back
 
The falling residue of bitter pain collapsed
Upon the stones of guilt until each trace has died
Returns to me as cycle that has now elapsed
From light of morn to final tear my heart has cried.
The pain of looking back to memories which break
Into a set of shards which Justice’ hands forsake
Is bitterness following me along a road
Revealing pain within each episode.
Although I try to break away from pain
Beginning strong until it fades to grey,
A cycle set to bitterness has choked each vein
From feeling happiness within each day.

"Looking Back" is in the archive for issue 117 of Bewildering Stories.
 

Jason Constantine Ford is from Perth in Australia. He works as an employee at a book shop. He has over fifteen years of experience in studying various styles of poetry. The major influences on his style of poetry are William Blake, Edgar Alan Poe and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Blake’s ability to address the social issues of his time through poetry and painting has had a lasting impact upon Jason’s early years. For correspondence, contact Jason at jasonconstantinford@gmail.com .
John Grey
RAM-BUNK-SHUSH
I love the thump of uselessness,
the riot of kneecap and elbows.
Europeans are all done composing.
It's time to rock and roll.
 
Besides, I am exhausted by art.
White-wigged, stiff-faced...
music's hungry for the blasting
of its tunnels
through this Mozart mountainside...
rabid drum feasting, guitar howling,
in three quarter time.
 
That's why
Chuck Berry's crashed the concert halls.
Beethoven's not himself.
Bach stopped playing one organ
for the pleasures of another.
Chopin's been hoist on his own Mazurka.
Brahms got the message,
went and bought himself
a brand new Cadillac.
 
Needle on the record,
I call the shots here,
close my eyes and suck
the passion into me,
or step my heart aside,
burn the rug with feet.
 
I can still hear them saying it:
all noise.
But who grows up softly?
I still can't do a thing with silence.
But I have a lot of time for what I hear.

 
STORM AND COYOTE
 
A storm breaks over the neighborhood,
A coyote howls. I am being
spoken to in two languages.
Yes, I'm snug in my home but I hear.
 
This is the storm that persists
in carrying on this conversation
with the ends of my days.
And the wild canine whose
 
voice adds a "Don't forget" to
thunder's invocation, lightning's
vigorous striking, black cloud's
sudden capitulation into rain.
 
The ones who might have said
"Take care" are gone now.
They took their own despair
at its word, that booming and wailing.
 
They reveled in living in houses.
But four walls, a floor, a ceiling,
were never enough. And they swore by
their bodies likewise. But not now.
 
And no homes now. Just storms
beating down on where their bodies lie,
coyotes mourning their lack of heed.
A storm comes as storms will.
 
Alone and terrified,
hungry and defeated,
a coyote is nimble enough
to work its way into any narrative.

John Grey is an Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze”with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Fox Cry Review.

 Adreyo Sen
Our Secrets
When we sleep,
we give ourselves over
to our secrets,
hoping they’ll treat us kindly
and accompany us back
to our beds
in the fluttering guise
of hope.
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer.  He did his undergraduate work in English and his postgraduate work in English and Sociology.  Adreyo has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.
Joan Colby
WHEN WE RETURN
 
 
The night collapses upon the foothills.
Sentry pines collect starshine.
The spoor of wolves and elk.
Cabin windows frost like the words
We uttered leaving.
 
The climate changed while we were
Sleeping. Glaciers melted north of here,
Their heavy beards descending
Into the fiords. We’re older now.
 
How difficult to recall
What made us pack our hearts
In old sacks of contention,
Wrap our feet in rags
And set off into the falling snow.
 
Unlock the door.
Light a fire in the woodstove.
Our memories hang on these walls
Like big-racked trophies,
Glass-eyed and imperturbable.
 
 
 
 
MARCH 1st WITH CROWS
 
 
A murder of crows embitters
The bleak afternoon.
Collective noun preening
How they mob the hawks
Or cry harsh accolades
To an indifferent sky.
 
The symbolism of crows
Is specious. Like shotgunning
The trees where they huddle
Rewriting history in a
Script of ragged wings,
Dark angels of prescience. With
knapsacks of torment, they
Fashion their nests in your mind.
 
Crows with their bullet eyes
And Dickensian smirks
Jammed with chancery,
Lawsuits, crime.
 
 
OVERWINTERING
 
 
The winter the barns collapsed,
Roofs overwhelmed with snow,
The whitened horses neighing,
I drove downstate half on the verge
For traction, cars overturned
In the median, semis upended,
Frantic shovelers. The motel was
Powerless, freezing, I wore all the
Clothes I’d packed, covered up
With my wool coat and tried to sleep.
 
Meanwhile, a queen wasp entombed
In frost folded her wings
Awaiting resurrection though her
Retinue had expired, their task completed
 
I thought of how she would thaw,
Crawl out into a new season
Like a woman who decides forgiving
Is better than extinction.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner.. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), , Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News,and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 10 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers, The Atrocity Book and her newest book from Future Cycle Press—“Dead Horses.” FutureCycle will also publish “Selected Poems” in 2013.

Lance Calabrese
 
                                                   Adherents
 
            Birds flit nervously landed
            spreading feathers as they rummage
            islands of grass in oceans of dust
            for the odd seed. All this
            beneath a star's radiant pinnacle.
            Its bright fist hammers
 
            the season's last
            before our fall into gray.
            A haziness of sleep soon
            as the light retreats
            and colors fade like a weakening pulse.
            From my window
 
            these flat rooftops seem like barges
            collecting detritus
            while those pitched
            slough leaves like the dead skin
            of summer's tan.
            These autumn months of lassitude
 
            when trumpets no longer blare
            the scent of lilac and petals fall
            as if every plant had stopped giving.
            Withered leaves seem to crack on sight
            - not a whisper as every stem pales.
            Only the faintest tendrils are left
 
            of one plant that has climbed
            the side of a house
            when hands were strong
            and green could cross the threshold
            of an eave to place a finger on a roof.
            Its knuckles remain
 
            the grip of September's gnarled roots
            though I still see the blooms of May
            even as a desiccated hold
            peels from stucco walls.
            Blood will blossom
            in the flesh of its fist
           
            throughout the struggle
            to survive another year.
            Again this plant
            will outlast winter
            will flower and disperse
            like nascent eras.
 
            Life arrives
            more readily than it cedes
            and when the earth wakens
            clarions announce and the green
            applauds our resilience
            with a burst of vibrant color.

I was born and live in California.  I have been published throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.  Self-taught.

John McKernan

WAKING UP
 
Is always
A form of death
 
Those lovers
In your dreams
Slaughtered inside a pillow
 
The fears
That gather knives
Into every muscle
Of your body
 
The silence
Behind your eyelids
Erased by an endless scream
You translate into words
Of a language learned as a child

John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha –  studied at Columbia University and Boston University   He is now a retired comma herder after teaching many years at Marshall University . He lives – mostly – in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press.  His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Hudson Review and many other magazines.

Phillip A. Ellis

Bunk Beds

When I attended the Men's Festival,
I remember the cabins, each named after
a place, and we would easily fall asleep.
I would lie awake looking at shadows,
before the morning, and sluglike world,
yearning for a coffee or tea,
knowing nothing, knowing hunger, knowing heat.

But I remember, in the morning,
while everyone was still sleeping,
the fractals of the trees on the walls of the gorge,
fretting their colours, sometimes in low clouds,
as if the world was waiting for the sun
to enter the sky it had already set alight.

A Dream's Sonnet

Last night, I dreamt of Erskineville again,
and seemed to see the sky as frozen solid
with light, but not of stars or maybe moon;
and in the stillness of the silent alleys
that, packed with shadows, bled their darkness out,
I seemed to feel a heaviness and coldness
slip in my heart alike the quiet blade
of a skilled knife, or maybe a stiletto.

There were no people. Nothing living moved,
only a rusting car upon the sidewalk
that slowly crawled along on rotten wheels
with half-deflated tires bulging loosely,
and in its dull and cloudy chrome I saw
the pinprick echoes of an alien starlight.
 
Phillip A. Ellis is a freelance critic, poet and scholar. His
chapbooks, <i>The Flayed Man</i>, <i>Symptoms Positive and Negative</i>
and <i>Arkham Monologues</i>, are available. He is working on a collection
for Diminuendo Press. Another has been accepted by Hippocampus Press. He
is the editor of <i>Melaleuca</i>. His website is at
http://www.phillipaellis.com/


 Larry W. Kelts

       The Iris Veil
 
 
Flashes from a grandchild I’ve never seen
buzz about my mad swarming mind.
Near-by, where honey bees once nosed,
empty hives enshroud memories that
 
buzz about my mad swarming mind.
Lost among the changing seasons
empty hives enshroud memories that
honey drops from the rotting frames.
 
Lost among the changing seasons
a late afternoon Beekeeper traces
honey drops from the rotting frames
into pools of stagnate rainwater.
 
A late afternoon Beekeeper traces
shadows of yesterday—an overgrown lot.
Into pools of stagnate rainwater
the lost grandchild wades and trips over
 
shadows of yesterday.  An overgrown lot
borders the blossoming iris veil, and
the lost grandchild wades and trips over
her bruise.  A scared carcass of memory
 
borders the blossoming iris veil and
bare knuckles of sprout.  Dug too thin
her bruise, a scared carcass of memory,
bunches in transparent evergreen shade.
 
Bare knuckles of sprout, dug to thin
and dropped here, now root as iris veils.
Bunches, in transparent evergreen shade,
spread on the plastic of summer’s compost
 
and, dropped here, now root as iris veils.
Sprouting stems and mute tongues,
spread on the plastic of summer’s compost,
mirroring a grandchild lost behind the veil.
 
Sprouting stems and mute tongues
entangle the stranger of my blood
mirroring a grandchild.  Lost behind the veil
I wrestle transformations holding to
 
entangle the stranger of my blood.
Near-by where honey bees once nosed,
I wrestle transformations holding to
flashes from a grandchild I’ve never seen.

                                                                        to Gracen

Larry Kelts grew up on a dairy farm in north-central Pennsylvania.  After working as a farmer, factory machinist, laboratory technician, and research scientist he obtained an MFA from Bennington College and now resides in Newark Delaware where he writes poetry and frequents the art scene in Delaware and Philadelphia.

Laura Madeline Wiseman

Against My Brother-in-Law
 
I want to be burned, I say to him in the inferno.
You’re not going to die anytime soon. He touches
 
my hair. You’re right, I say, but still I want to be scattered,
my ashes in every place I’ve ever painted. This heat suffocates.
 
I roll away from him. He holds my hip. What makes you think,
he asks, I’d let you to die? I sit up and gape—his blue eyes,
 
his hands behind his head, his arms wide and angled.
You’re dangerous, I say, to those you marry.
 
Like a flash, he pulls me back down to the bed,
to his lips, and says, And yet, here you are.


Bad Dreams Opening
Des Moines Art Center
 
That day, they followed us, room to room. Docents’ heads jerk as we entered. They ensnared us in the museum’s Bad Dreams exhibit—Cindy Sherman’s dead face flecked in grit and Edvard Munch’s vampire, tresses spilling. My camera cowered against my side, the lens cap on, but they twitched at our footfalls in the gallery. Where we paused, they listened to our talk. I followed the directions—no photographs, except in corridors and halls. There was nowhere to go without art—graphics by the elevators, ledges of pottery and ancient tribal knives in the stairs, a miniature before a window of sculptures, and an instillation of bed skirts under the eaves. They leapt from folding chairs. I turned to meet a glare. One stared from the exit. Near the gift shop we finally rested on leather couches to catch our breath. A docent clenched her hands, watching. I opened the large, round eye to capture two girls whispering, bending close. One reached out to stop me. Within the frame a mobile twirled, its fierce black blades, that museum light.

Laura Madeline Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she teaches English and creative writing. She is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2012) and Unclose the Door (Gold Quoin Press, 2012). She is also the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013). Her writings have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Arts & Letters, Poet Lore, and Feminist Studies. She has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and Mari Sandoz/Prairie Schooner, and grants from the Center for the Great Plains Studies and the Wurlitzer Foundation. www.lauramadelinewiseman.com

R. Joseph Capet
To a Blackbird in the School Courtyard


O blackbird, harbinger of death—
a gust of wind from which no light escapes—
settled in a passing shape
upon the grass' passing breath,
you are the pool of lay lines flowing—
water held in paned suspension—
a hair's breadth second from breaking tension
any way the breeze is blowing.
O Brâncusi's golden bird,
burnt to ashes on the ground,
kindled in a hellish fire where angels dare not tread...
Why should I fear you, lovely bird,
whose resurrection here astounds
the clip-winged and the dead?

I am a poet and theologian whose work in multiple languages has appeared in magazines and journals as diverse as decomP, The Montreal Review, the American Journal of Biblical Theology, and Sennaciulo. I currently lay up treasures on earth teaching English to students across Latin America and treasures in heaven teaching Esperanto to anyone willing to learn, as well as serving as poetry editor for P.Q. Leer. More of my work can be found at www.rjosephcapet.com or by following @racecapet on Twitter.


Clinton Van Inman

INVITED
It was no accident my coming here
For they must had known long before
I wandered to their farmhouse near
That soon I’d knock upon their door
During this darkest season of the year.

Call it more than a good neighbor’s sense
In snow to leave a porch lamp lighted
Or post the sign upon the picket fence
For those in need are all equally invited
Even if it I thought it mere coincidence.
               
ECLIPSE

Through cracks in old cabin wood
The sun’s eclipse ran across my floor
Like a garland of little golden smiles
Across the table and up the wall
As if they meant to give me call.
Perhaps the sun was all the whiles
Trying to show me something more
Than any store bought telescope could?


IF WE COULD DANCE ONE NIGHT AWAY


If only we could dance this night away
Filled with champagne and candlelight,
In hours held by our own delight,
Only this and this alone would please.
Like Chablis mixed with sweet bouquet
In moments we shall soon not forget
Save all not close to the clarinet,
Where only perfume and tobacco lingers
Our love will rise above all these.
While we shall tango upon the terrace
Moonbeams will fall upon your face,
And I shall say that nothing really matters
Except this time that we have passed
Because we have saved our best for last.

I was born in Walton on Thames, England in 1945, received my BA from San Diego State in 1977.  I am a high school teacher in Tampa Bay and plan to retire at the end of the school year.  I live in Sun City Center, Florida with my wife, Elba.

Oliver Rice
           THE DISSIDENT DETECTIVE
 They are loose in the streets
with healing books under their arms,
in waiting lines and pubs,
faces lit by secret necessity,
who pause in their predicaments
to gaze at the skyline and the birds.
Everywhere there are clues.
Disguised as an averaged man,
he surveils their turning live
who hold their heads at peculiar angles.
Who wish to wake to someone smiling
or make their analysts gasp.
From the shadows of the spectacle he watches.
In the eye behind his eyes
they loiter in doorways,
on plazas of long chance
who cannot save themselves.
Slyly in the neighborhoods he listens.
On the ear within his ear
someone is singing
who is prepared to confess everything.
Is sobbing, softly and artfully,
who wishes to be lost or found.
Deep in the night he waits
beside his available other.
There are words, he says to the moon,
from which you cannot turn away.
Someone is feeling for the bottom of his days.
Someone is dancing her innocence back.
I, too, he says to the muttering city,
have been promised more than there is.

Oliver Rice’s poems appear widely in journals and anthologies in the United States and abroad.
Creekwalker released an interview with him in January, 2010. His book of poema, On Consenting
to Be a Man, is published by Cyberwit and is available on Amazon. His online chapbook, Afterthoughts  
Siestas, and his recording of his Institute for Higher Study appeared in Mudlark in December, 2010.

Bruce McRae

One Morning
 
 
The morning night ended.
The morning I lay in the bed’s snow
making tight little angels,
clinging to the last starbeam,
considering seriously the nature of light,
of light’s long and thankless journey
through the sovereign dark.
 
Morningtide, in bed with the blues
and a black cup of coffee,
gnawing a nail to the quick,
chewing on the straw of contemplation.
Thinking about daylight’s simile.
Inventing, in the cold clean light of day,
a metaphor for invention.

Originally from Niagara Falls Ontario, Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a musician who has spent much of his life in London and British Columbia. He has been published in hundreds of periodicals and anthologies. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit his website: www.bpmcrae.com.

Robert Hirschfield

Checkpoint          
 
 
Her head, with its splash of soft puruple
is eating an Arab bagel
round as a planet.
 
                                                         She is thinking of how
 
                                                         she might scratch her thigh
 
                                                         with her gun
 
                                                         without the scent of innocence
 
                                                         getting loose
 
                                                         at the checkpoint,
 
                                                         causing rioting in the brain centers
 
                                                         of the olive trees.
 
                                                         She wants to be that little girl
 
                                                         in the rubber tube
 
                                                         in Jellyfish,
 
                                                         the girl with no name,
 
                                                         who can’t even name
 
                                                         the sea she carries on her back.

My poems have appeared in TABLET, MIDSTREAM and other publications.
 Two poems of mine have been accepted for publication in SALAMANDER
 and EUROPEAN JUDAISM. I also review books of poetry for THE JERUSALEM
 REPORT.

Howard F. Stein

Beneath a Prairie Sky    HF Stein
 
O prairie sky!
We rank as but trifles
beneath your fearsome might
and your starry deep.
Our conquests pale
against a horizon that vanishes
into the curvature of the earth?
 
You terrify us
with tornadoes.
You soothe us
With cool fall days
absent of wind.
Your galaxies spin
further than thought can conceive.
Under your watch,
our moods pitch
from gratitude to terror.
 
O prairie sky!
What is our measure,
mite that we are?
Is it our calling                                           
to be your witness?
Is there grandeur
in a speck?

Howard F. Stein is a psychoanalytic, medical, organizational, and applied anthropologist and medical educator who tries to bring poetry into all facets of personal and professional life.  He retired in 2011 after teaching nearly 35 years in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK, USA.  He is now an Interdisciplinary Seminar facilitator with the American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center, in Oklahoma City. His most recent book of poetry is In the Shadow of Asclepius: Poems from American Medicine (2011). His next book of poetry, Raisins and Almonds, will be published by Finishing Line Press.


A.J Huffman

How Yesterday Whispers
 
Fossils.
Preserved bones. Bits
buried beneath layers
of dirt under pressure.  Death has
its lore.
 
From Behind Curtain at Dawn
 
Dew drop.
Primal dancer
leaping across the green.
Manic solo moment.  Spotlight’s
release.
 
Breakfast at the Beach
 
Seagull.
Soaring soldier.
Dive, rise, glide, consume
ferreted prize:  a seafood meal
at dawn.

A.J. Huffman has published five solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her sixth solo chapbook will be published in October by Writing Knights Press.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.  www.kindofahurricanepress.com

Perry L. Powell

On Another Threshold
 
One by one the lights go out;
I look in our album for your smile.
One by one the years fall aside—
they are outsourcing our lives to other realms.
 
But when we walk along the water,
we cannot hold onto the fear.
You breathe in and I breathe out,
you breathe out and I breathe in
 
the same noble gases.  Tell me
did we make these mistakes?
I have turned to chapter and verse.
I have traced the light along your cheek.
 
What I am trying to say, my love, is
simply more or less.
 
 
 


Slipstream
 
Fog over the water and a dying sun,
and we stand on the shore to contemplate
the calm of this world we pretend to own.
Strangers after all, doomed to our choices,
what can we know of beginnings or ends?
 
Here in such middle times, love, take my hand.
 
The night comes soon, step onto the dock,
lean into my chest, and follow the rhythm.
Compensations we may find in less truth
and more imagination to sweat by.
 
Music is only a lie we dance to,
but a lie we need like many another.
We—after all—are water; our lives
but another front for local weather.


Perry L. Powell is a systems analyst who lives and writes in College Park, Georgia.   His work has appeared or is forthcoming in A Handful of Stones, A Hundred Gourds, Decades Review, Haiku Presence, Indigo Rising, Lucid Rhythms, Mobius The Journal of Social Change, Poetry Pacific, Prune Juice, Quantum Poetry Magazine, Ribbons, small stones, The Camel Saloon, The Credo, The Foliate Oak, The Heron's Nest, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Lyric, and Turtle Island Quarterly.

Wayne F. Burke

Slave Revolt
 
Gramp, more Claudian than Augustan, died, and unlike
Christ, failed to rise--not on the third day or any other.
Uncle Albert, brazen as any Nero, at the head of the
table, is wrapped in layers of fat thick as wall keeping
Chinas' in or out.  I run like a coolie to Uncle's shouts.
Gram moves from stove to sink to table; she serves the
meat and potatoes.  My sister sits in a corner gnawing a
bone.  My brother is obeisant and silent as a clam.  Uncle,
Great-Man-of-the-Dinner-Table, rules with iron hand.
His rules change, however, like his moods, from black to
blacker, and I am always wrong, crooked somehow, in
need of being straightened by a kick from size ten shoes
or a slap of his calloused hand. Gram folds her wooden
lap: she's bled the years together and is caught in the
groove of a record going round...I fail to wipe several
different looks off my face.  I have insurrection in mind.
I am Spartacus against the power of Rome, and I lose
every time.

Wayne F. Burke has published poetry in FORGE, miller's pond, Northeast Corridor magazine, Writers' Journal, and elsewhere.  He works as an LPN in a nursing home in the central Vermont area.

James Piatt

Oh Balmy Breeze


Oh balmy breeze,
You are the breath of spring,
You from whose newness
Arrive each day,
A presence that brings
New life to our being,
A bouquet of colors blowing
Away the chilly gray:

Oh balmy breeze,
You are the pulse of life, a
Welcoming freshness which
Overcomes darkness of night,
You bring brightness to
Conquer man’s strife, and
Toll in soft bells that covers
A dark world’s blight:

Oh balmy breeze,
You are the hope
For warmer days,
You bring in verdant meadows
For us to view,
So sweet your rhythm over
Life’s pleasant ways,
You are a sweet song that
Echoes in my soul so, true.

Two of Dr.Piatt's relatives, John James Piatt and Sarah Morgan Bryan
Piatt, were prolific poets in the eighteen hundreds. Their poems
inspired much of his style of poetry. Broken Publications published
his début book of poetry, “The Silent Pond” in 2012. They will release
his second poetry book, “Ancient Rhythms” in September of  2013. He
has had over 350 poems, 32 short stories, 7 essays, and 2 novels (The
Ideal Society and The Monk) published in over seventy magazines,
anthologies and books. His books are available on Amazon.