Haydn’s enlightened benefactor,
never mind the dump in which the genius lived.
Such was the state of arts then,
but today art is cheap,
compliments of computer claptrap,
trillions upon trillions of terabytes.
Where are the benefactors?
Have they all slipped into artistic guise,
scribbling free form sonnets,
notating stilted symphonies,
slathering the canvas in languid landscapes,
while true artists
sink in the virtual cesspool,
waving goodbye, goodbye,
dear god, goodbye?
ScenesIt’s waiting rooms from here on out --
this changing mole, that darkening blemish,
the wrenching cramps.
We’ve already spent decades in these rooms,
assaulted by vidiots
mouthing voices wired in their ears
as we awaited patches to ease time,
medications to drain wallets.
The brunette on this room’s particular screen
babbles pro-life talking points,
as though difference of opinion defines
a person as a killer.
C.S. Fuqua’s books include White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems ~ Vol. I, Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale (children’s picture book), Rise Up (short fiction collection), The Native American Flute: Myth, History, Craft, Trust Walk (short fiction collection), and The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, among others. His work has appeared in publications such as Main Street Rag, , Christian Science Monitor, Slipstream, The Old Farmer's Almanac, The Writer, and Honolulu Magazine.
DementiaI couldn’t recall his name.
I’d worked with him at church
and then he’d moved away.
“It’s good to see you again,”
I said. “How long has it been?”
I thought how my mother puts
her arms around herself
when she’s feeling uncertain
then wriggles her body
in a sexual way and says,
“You know I love you.”
She says this to the in-laws
from Japan who speak no English
and to the salesgirl at the store
and the busboy at the restaurant.
She says it to me
when I sit with her over papers
that require her signature
or if we look at photos
and she can’t believe
she’s looking at herself.
My stepfather asks, “What can I do
when she’s like this except
smile and roll my eyes and turn
her attention to something else—
flowers, a hair style, clouds.
Nothing works for long.”
No matter how many meetings
and chance coffees, our wives friends
if not great sisters in the church,
I couldn’t recall his name
but turned my back and went outside
and tried to think and pray.
William D. Ford is a retired teacher-editor with two poetry collections and two chapbooks. Most recently his work has appeared in Brilliant Corners, Lascaux Review, The Hollins Critic, Kentucky Review, Monarch Review, The Wallace Stevens Review, and elsewhere. He was nominated (fifth time) for a Pushcart earlier this spring.
Taking a Ride on the Back of a Golden EagleWe’re shot high up against the tilting horizon
each second of should-be-but-not-plunging drops
into the next—still aloft!—unable to breathe
in so much air, shuttering and singing air, as we
swing just beneath the burning blue cold ceiling
of the world, gliding and gliding back down
toward that world, the eagle’s strangely unruffled
head turning away from Mont Blanc; I see
something unforgiving in the glacier—dirtier
than I expected, bending through time
(something that reminds me this vision
should be earned by warriors through days of heat,
starvation, Quest, by brave juniors who volunteer
to be hypnotized at the school assembly, forget
everything at the snap of fingers, left only
with a sense of violation) before we scoot just
past the tip of a towering spruce—so close
even the eagle snaps his head back—and find
the trail, where there are people, standing,
taking and posting pictures, and the screen
goes dark. I lean back in my chair, click the sky-
-blue link to watch the video again, and admire
the terrible brilliance of a GoPro® camera strapped
to the back of a golden eagle; click to feel
whatever it is in me that used to soar almost die
Jonathan Andersen is the author of Stomp and Sing (Curbstone / Northwestern University Press, 2005) and the editor of Seeds of Fire: Contemporary Poetry from the Other U.S.A. (Smokestack Books-UK, 2008). His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, English Journal, HEart, Rattle, and The Progressive, among other journals. He is a professor of English at Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson and Willimantic, Connecticut.
In the Cross Hairs“O mia patria, si bella e perduta,” Giuseppe Verdi, Nabucco
O, my country, to what good end
do you put your people
in the cross hairs of a rifle sight?
What do you so fear that you
spew hate to fend it off?
Were we not all somewhere unwanted,
kept on the other side
of a fiercely guarded wall?
Do we not all fear that which
we so long toiled to attain
will be taken away?
We are all haunted
by the same dark night.
I can see my own reflection
in the face of the foe I would kill.
Come! Let us sit at the same table
and dip our ladle from the same pot.
The vineyards are plentiful;
no one need thirst here.
Let us lower our shields
and put to our lips
a draught of reconciliation.
The ReturnLike a magnificent
spray of fireworks,
after a six-month absence.
I could not tell
whether the bare stalks
signaled death or dormancy,
nor could I account
for so abundant
Was it the plant food,
the rain, the pruning –
the wishful anticipation?
I have always had
a scientific turn of mind,
but I am not beyond
bafflement and simple
gratitude when what
might be readily explained,
appears with so large
a tincture of surprise.
Howard F. Stein, a medical, applied, psychoanalytic, and organizational anthropologist, organizational consultant, and poet, is professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. He has published over 200 articles and 27 books, of which 7 are books or chapbooks of poetry. His two most recent poetry books are In the Shadow of Asclepius: Poems from American Medicine (2011) and Raisins and Almonds (2014). He is in awe of the Oklahoma prairie, an inspiration for many of his poems.
FINDING NIGHTSongs overflow from doors
opening to the sidewalk
baptize the weak, stirring the curiosity of
a night strung tight
while others pray in alleys
whispering their sins
under a celestial curtain as
stars cross behind the black
of space where not
a molecule is out of place
as cool air covers the tapestry
of the city and liberal
sounds drift to the street
drenching the people
from the day
and the day before.
GRAY AND FLATA following of suitcases, faces moving
under gray metal skies.
Faith long ago leaped away, claiming
a lost kingdom from a ragged past.
Abandoned without gain they all walk
city streets, moving in mass around corners
past lights and buildings.
They follow without leading. Regularly looking
Doors, at 16My son crashes through them
like some rampaging animal
or pro wrestler, smacking them
back against walls, handles leaving dents,
never closing them after himself
but full of faith—if he thinks of them at all—
that they'll swing shut of their own accord.
He has been known to put his hands
through glass doors in his haste
to get from here to there,
to push when he should pull.
I've grown used to the noise.
In the house I locate him by sound,
how far or how near the banging
to where I read or wash dishes.
Always, he is on his way out,
or in, to something on the other side.
This is 16. Later I will close doors
after him, retrace his progress,
noting the latches above my head,
but no longer out of his reach—
placed there years ago to keep
the toddler from escaping.
Now nothing holds him back.
Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). A third chapbook, Planes and Trains and Automobiles, is forthcoming from Portent Press (UK), and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing--both in the fall of 2015.
WALK BY ANCIENT BURIAL GROUNDearth singing where grass is tall
to the edge of the hill that disappears
one dozen narrow trees surge for sky
like veins moving upward
breeze tickling leaves that laugh
open eyes of morning lit
by the burning match of sun
wrinkled eastern sky
air swimming with humidity
I devise notions of why my pace
always slows there.
WALK, AFTER WATCHING THE NEWS(for Charleston, South Carolina)
wings tracing the outline of breeze,
it rained so fiercely
in the early dark of this morning
where did you go then?
perhaps somewhere dank, unlit, hidden,
like that evil pit inside of men
but now here with your wings crisp
afloat in the breath of midday sun
you welcome my tattered soul
as I walk around edges
of lingering puddles slow
Mark Senkus lives in a small town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he works as a therapist and spends time in the outdoors with fish, birds, wolves and black bears.
String ReporterI had punched the final paragraph for the last edition,
called the story in, typewriter clucking stilled like a swung hen,
platen gripping the paper as if in editorial argument,
day wound up at night, flushed with adrenaline
like a miler sprinting the last two-twenty,
breaking the tape with no lungs left to spare.
I ached in my shoulders from the hunch over sticky keys
caused by the left hand’s hesitance at the right phrase
and right hand’s insistence at uncommon diction.
I covered the Smith-Corona with a black cloth
like the cross on Good Friday knowing it would rise from the dead,
renascent limbs of letters revived within the soft-inked cloth.
GraphiteAssigned a pencil sketch I could not perform,
struck as I was with the smell of shavings,
graphite, wood, the odor of men
working with damp rock and dark lamps,
or men in teams of two working wood the way
I’d seen my father’s hands pull the saw teeth
and my uncle’s hands push the saw teeth back
into the trunk to spew the durum-colored dust--
the smell of quarries, woodlands, or work.
I wanted to draw a line boldly,
difficult, strong, lacking delicacy,
to pour the shavings and smear the graphite grounds
across the paper, pack the shavings in a folded origami,
carry the rings of life caught in the bitten wood.
Jeff Burt lives in California. He has work in The Nervous Breakdown, Clerestory, Agave, and Wayfarer.
Zip Liners"Amanuensis to the wind"
William Least Heat-Moon (speaking of hawks)
We listened to their squeals
as we struggled against the furious dance
of our as-yet untethered tents.
Our campsite was at the canyon's
western apex -- a suction cup
for air, sweeping everything
down within the desert colors
etched out by time's stylus.
The customers rode past us
before and after their adventure,
perched sideways behind a tractor.
We never really watched
their Hen Harrier Hawk plunges,
only saw them helmeted, nervous,
preparing to be pretend sky divers
of the desert. Our tents billowed
and clapped through each night
while the Milky Way smeared
a filmy cloud above the canyon.
We were all writing
our own fantasy selves,
wishing for some wildness
long-lost to us.
Tales of the Princes of SerendipWho knows where the chords I pluck
today on this old Gibson guitar
will come to rest? Can you, and I, too,
become earth shakers? Horace Walpole
was a great writer of letters,
sent his new word, serendipity,
to a friend. Over and over we learn
those of practical, political bent
are touched by art. We think our words
vaporize after sound waves are stirred,
but when old Ben Franklin made music,
attached glass bowls, 37 of them,
to a spindle, Mozart and Beethoven
composed for the armonica,
and Marie Antoinette learned to play
the instrument. Though lives and music
are both cut off as history dictates,
the Irish legend tells us that
secrets whispered only to trees
go right on tickling ears all the way
Carol Hamilton has recent publications upcoming publications in POET LORE, HAIGHT ASHBURY LITERARY JOURNAL, BOSTON LITERARY REVIEW, MAIN STREET RAG, REED, POEM, COLD MOUNTAIN REVIEW, TWO CITIES REVIEW, ALBATROSS, HASH, NEBO, and others. She has published 17 books: children's novels, legends and poetry, most recently, SUCH DEATHS. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize.
In This HesitanceThis is not a sound,
not as loud as whispers,
nor is it light,
even faintness of dark moons,
it does not taste of wine,
nor bring fragrances
of blossoms not yet formed.
There are no lips to touch
nor tears to glisten
now, in this hesitance
when Winter quietly lies down
and Spring has not yet risen.
Cleo Griffith was Chair of the Editorial Board of Song of the San Joaquin for twelve years, and remains on the Board. She has been published in: Cider Press Review, Iodine, Main Street Rag, More Than Soil, More Than Sky: The Modesto Poets, POEM, the Aurorean, The Furnace Review, The Lyric, Tiger’s Eye, Time of Singing and others. She is a member of the Modesto CA Branch of the National League of American Pen Women.
IconA woman lifting a set of scales with one hand,
the double-edged sword represents law--
an icon using classical themes long planned,
a symbol of justice designed to have no flaw.
The double-edged sword represents law,
objectivity shown by blindfolded eyes
a symbol of justice designed to have no flaw
which in some courtrooms is oversized.
Objectivity shown by blindfolded eyes
an icon using classical themes long planned
which in some courtrooms is oversized:
a woman lifting a set of scales with one hand.
previously published in Common Ground Review
Carol Smallwood's recent poetry collections include Divining the Prime Meridian and Water, Earth, Air, Fire, and Picket Fences. Recent anthologies include Women, Work, and the Web and Writing After Retirement. Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching is on Poets & Writers Magazine list of Best Books for Writers. Carol's edited over four dozen books and is in Who's Who in America; Contemporary Authors.
Past YearningsI have lain beside soft women,
kissed their flesh, touched their hair,
have seen their eyes, locked tight in love
afterwards, grow blank, then stare,
trapped in an ancient yearning spell,
some thought of youth, some faded hope,
and never to another tell
what dwindling promise lingered there.
Weary Unto….We who have dared to wage the war of youth,
the slothful, weary dreamers blind to truth,
the lost men visioning a sad parade,
that replaced the hope of an accolade.
We who have dedicatedly reclined
upon a couch of sloth and weak despair,
discovered our true virtues have declined,
abandoned us in the midst of nowhere.
is still beauty
since man does not determine,
at least those
capable of response
when not preoccupied
in worldly affairs,
mostly too busy
for a soul refresher.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks, including Days of Destruction and Expectations. His novels include Extreme Change, Acts of Defiance, and Flawed Connections. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway, and his poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City
Spite 2The battery that keeps one running even
when unplugged for so long
absent an other-worldly event
to bestow one with the fortitude of God.
Not the opposite of grace, therefore, but plainly
Since you've come into the picture, however,
it's what makes one act regardless of tremors.
Not the opposite of love, therefore, but plainly
Wherever you twirl, I know there is no
pot of gold, nor fleece, only
of falling off
a precipice. But there
I go, to the top
of the cliff, to the middle
of you, in spite
of the height, in spite
of the whirlpool, in spite
of myself, in spite
OvercastI can't impute too much, should it be nothing,
but something interrupting an expanse
enchants. On the open main
when overcast at twilight, one thin band
of hue-shift in the gray horizon fills
as far as even god. Likewise is the
effect on plains and deserts. Say oppressive,
since the vastness is so regular it’s cruel;
or impressive, since there is such delight
in a panorama’s showing off impurities:
the crags and tors and bumps and swoops and swirls,
the cliffs and reefs, hills, dales, and chiseled rivers,
islets or isles, each mountain not the same,
and curlicues and puffball beasts in skies
with colors graduating here and there.
And the occasional streak, flourish for show:
a rainbow, a whisked white, a radiant red. . . .
I find it easy to believe in gods
witnessing dramatic acts like these.
But in the calm—say it, boring—grays of seas
and prairies, overcast, seek out a spot
of quiet—go by yourself—if you can,
where the rote of waves, a steady drone of crickets,
the morning birds, or absolute silence
is your only orchestra,
and in a while there too may bare a god—
not boiling over, awing from without,
but barely bubbling, whispering from within.
James B. Nicola has several poetry awards and nominations to his credit, with recent or upcoming poems in the Southwest Review, Atlanta Review, and Lullwater Review. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His first full-length poetry collection, Manhattan Plaza, has just been released; his second, Stage to Page, will be out in 2016. More at sites.google.com/site/jamesbnicola.
we meet at the gray windmill
where she hides
in her apartment
opening on the canal.
Outside the tulips
sigh in the dark, the
deer move silently
among the black trees,
and the canal moves
as a sheet of glass.
The scent of milled soap
and wood fills the room
and we drift amid
waves of satin sheets
and explore each other again,
sailing back to that
summer on the Cape,
the dark brown windmill
near the Bay
where we found
each other on the
morning beach, the
gray mist almost
too terrible to bear
until that moment.
HypochondriaThe source of all our sadness,
all our fears, you say,
is a form of hypochondria.
We imagine every thought,
every feeling is a
symptom of something.
But since we aren’t ill
we can’t cure it.
But what would there be left to do
if not to spend anxious moments
wondering if the world is
real or something else entirely,
something we cannot begin to fathom.
So we struggle through each day,
waiting for relief that never comes
for a sunshine that is never quite
the right sunshine, for the “Ah”
moment that’s never felt or,
if felt, not believed.
For us, there’s no late afternoon
in easy chairs by the stairs going
up to our well appointed rooms
where we pull the drapes aside
to find sunset waiting for us endlessly.
You tell me all this, and, coming
from you, I almost believe it.
Frank Judge's work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently in the last ginko, a collection of Japanese verse forms. He is a founding member of the Rochester Area Haiku Group and also the president of Rochester Poets, one of the oldest literary organizations in the Northeast.
Win TreeThe snow lacks all sense of accomplishment,
its crockets in the angles of bough sprits
take snow wing; keeping them there takes snowing;
there’s just no rest for the pieceful falling.
What A Delicate MomentLast night I had the time to look at snow,
but I can’t say nothing better to do
but can nothing as fun – sugared around,
snow made a fool of what light arrived (such
as headlights provide, or curtains concede);
yet a tiny wind spinning chenille gave
it a gentle helical feel.
Burial RightsSlathers of snow have a sleuth of a time
finding their way off the roof that they find
themselves on; they arrived as pamphletted
flakes, or as rice at a wetting; they now
sit solid, carefully weighting.
TWIXT is the mononym-onym of Peter Specker; he has had poetry published in Margie, The Indiana Review, Amelia, California State Quarterly, RE:AL, Pegasus, First Class, Pot-pourri, Art Times, The Iconoclast, Epicenter, Subtropics, Quest, Confrontation, Writers’ Journal, Rattle, Prairie Schooner and others. He lives in Ithaca, New York.
A PRAYER FOR RAIN“For his sake, do not refuse water.” ~Tefilat Geshem
Plus. Minus. Zero.
Sum of the fractures.
Numerator of the denominator.
Ratio of the falling towers
and the rising smoke
from suburban chimneys
and gentrified incinerators.
It’s all an impractical joke --
this giving and getting,
going and coming,
slipping and sliding
on the cracking ice
of Miller’s Pond.
Wipe the memories from your eyes,
the cookies from your mouth,
the dribble from your chin.
Erase the poem.
Erase the canvas.
Erase the moment.
Glorify the Father.
Glorify the Son,
and lay to rest the Holy Ghost.
L.G Corey has authored one collection, THE KALIDAS VERSES, and a second, RATS’ ALLEY POEMS, is in the works. Work appears in Poetry Pacific, Empty Sink Publishing, Chaffey Review, the Corvus Magazine, Hot Tub Astronaut, Snapping Twig, Screech Owl, and Pif. Over the years, it’s also appeared in Evergreen Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Midstream, Choice, the Critic and Zeek.
covered by plaster
board, white washed
in tiny frozen
waves, I look up
someone higher up,
I cannot see,
to silence with hope
that I am not alone.
Windows and DoorsEscape only through
windows, a long gaze
sheared by brittle
glass that dims
into night. A street
lamp glows, weighted by
a sky too distant, too
unaware, too riddled
by stars more sensed
in distant memory
than now seen. Hope
dissolves each morning
at sunrise. Smiling faces
re-appear in an inner
door toward that opens
onto another daily routine
Richard Dinges has an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and manages business systems at an insurance company. Comstock Review, Pulsar, Ship of Fools, Pennine Ink Review, and Cider Press Review most recently accepted my poems for their publications.
August: 2015Heaving in the heat with a Greek chorus of locusts
Eclipsing each and all, the blinding sun
ripening a bountiful largesse of summer’s bounty
succulent and plentiful
in a kind of ripening death
with the day’s oppressive heat
Sleepless on sticky nights
And hearing the oppressive silence
___ the silence of fears___ unto death
Into the daybreak of a dew-wet morning
a cricket chirps
its Paper-Mache songs
September, Glorious StrangerSeptember, again I did not know you
Appearing, as you did,
murmuring breezes of sweet intimacies
blowing in winds whispering gold dust
Then October rising triumphant in bronze glory
against the fate of waning autumn
Winter around the bend
wearing grey and gauze gown
smelling of death
Riding a chariot of swollen clouds
filled with portents of rain
Comes November, closing off sunrays
Laying to waste September’s bounty
But again September,
And again you came,
as would a stranger
in the bluest of skies,
Or like today
before it meets tomorrow
Susandale’s poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Ken *Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. She has two published chapbooks on the internet: Spaces Among Spaces by languageandculture.org and Bending the Spaces of Time by Barometric Pressure.