The Cremation – a poem by Mark Tulin

The Cremation

As I watched my dog
being taken to the fire,
I closed my eyes
imagining his soul
being transformed,
his past ending, a future beginning,
a pile of remains on the hot oven floor.
His charred bones
sanctified by the burning flames,
a spirit floating out in space,
vulnerable in the vast universe,
infinite and everlasting.

 

Mark Tulin is a former therapist who lives in California.  He has a chapbook, Magical Yogis, and two upcoming books: Awkward Grace, and The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories. He’s been featured in Fiction on the Web, Ariel Chart, Leaves of Ink, among others.  His website is Crow On The Wire.

Views from the Telemetry Unit – a poem by Alan Toltzis

Views from the Telemetry Unit

1.
Small bits of light
hover in the low afternoon clouds
pretending to be angels.

2.
By 3 AM,
the soul can be a rusting hulk
in the corner of a desolate parking lot
but still glisten with dew
if the temperature and humidity are right.

3.
The heart already knows every dance step.
Give it music.
Give it air.

 

Alan Toltzis is the author of 49 Aspects of Human Emotionand The Last Commandment. A two-time Pushcart nominee, he has published in numerous print and online journals including, Grey Sparrow, The Wax Paper, Hummingbird, IthacaLit, and Poetry NI. He serves as a Contributing Editor for The Saturday Poetry Series in As It Ought to Be Magazine and as an Editor for the Mizmor Poetry Anthology. Find him online at alantoltzis.com and follow him @ToltzisAlan.

Great River – a poem by Seth Jani

Great River

It’s okay to love this perishing dream-body.
You don’t have to reject the world.
Eternity courts the ten-thousand things
on their way to nowhere, sliding out of darkness
like fallen stars. So, let the emerald wind
rush across your skin until your tender as field grass.
Let the moon ignite on your shoulders. It’s so much lighter
than the earth, than the troubled engine of thoughts.
It’s all shadows now, and distant longings,
silver poems shot up like flares.
When gravity finally reigns us back in
it will find us slick as salmon
wriggling our way up the great river,
disappearing into the mouths of caves.
The continents are burning, but there is another forest
in the heart. The roots tie us together
in a nexus of bright connection. I don’t care
that you don’t believe in ghosts or meanings,
in big-time flowery love. The language doesn’t matter.
We burn for one another out of a secret knowledge
in our blood and bones.
This really is the middle point between horizons.
We are here to build the ladder.

 

Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in Chiron ReviewThe Comstock Review, Psaltery & Lyre and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018.  More about them and their work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

 

A Nobody Madly in Love – a poem by Marilyn Grant

A Nobody Madly in Love
(for Hafiz and Rumi)
Be an idiot for a while,
mute as a stone,
empty handed as a beggar, an
amnesiac without a name, without
memory hanging onto your heartstrings
fickle like a moody lover.

Stop searching for your Self
wandering like a frightened fool
looking in all the wrong places.
Close the door to your cluttered
mind busy like a teeming city.
Let the light that you are
be your knowing, a nobody
madly in love with everyone.

 

Marilyn Grant taught Creative Writing at Cerritos College, CA, where she was an adjunct professor of English, and journal writing workshops for Orange County Hospice nurses.  Roger Housden, a published author, was her teacher for a memoir writing course, and she is a member of Writers4Writers in Orange County, CA.  She recently joined a nationwide group of spiritual seekers called “We Awakening Circle.”

This was Written by a Fish – a poem by Patrick Key

This was Written by a Fish

My people swam in lakes – stealing whatever.
Their bodies make our silt. A moving grave,
fitting for a stream. My people – hunted.
A few fled. Their children don’t know their homeland.
There are records, but they aren’t studied.
Time is allotted to the important, not the swept.
My people were old. We don’t know what they looked like.
Travelers went “home” and found a collection of art,
but it wasn’t ours. Couldn’t have been our parents nor theirs.
Seashells and bones, strewn in loops amongst others.
Some decided to worship this.

 

Patrick Key started writing seriously later in life, thanks to the help of a poetry class during his undergraduate years. His interests revolve around the absurdity of life and love, disillusionment, and the human tendency to struggle with impossibilities. His works have appeared in The Corner Club Press, The Penwood Review, and Argus.

ON THE DAY MY MOTHER’S NINETY-SIX DAFFODILS BLOOMED – a poem by Diane Kendig

ON THE DAY MY MOTHER’S NINETY-SIX DAFFODILS BLOOMED

(a cento)

A reminiscence of departed love,
a sweet regretful power,
the splendor bright of that display,
a lute, a drum, a flower.

Within us is a universe as well.
And limitless are leaves,
stiff or drooping in the fields,
the golden eternity of blissful safety,
… the shade of my mother,

After such great wonder,
let the field be joyful and all that is therein
live for generations without any help from us.
Other eyes will see the spring.
What I have seen is unsurpassable.

 

Poem Note: All lines in the cento are the 96th line, or from a 96th poem in a long series, from poets such as Thomas Cole, The Pearl Poet, Ginsburg, Dante, and others.

 

Diane Kendig’s five poetry collections include Prison Terms, and she co-edited the anthology In the Company of Russell Atkins. She has published poetry and prose in journals such as J Journal, Under the Sun, and Ekphrasis. She curates “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry,” now with over 2200 subscribers.

Link to: dianekendig.com

No Ordinary Time – a poem by Thomas R. Smith

No Ordinary Time

Growing older, I try harder to catch
the grace of each moment, remain in the world
despite the constant flooding of thoughts
that sweep us down their jagged arroyo
toward the end of moments as we know them.

The church distinguishes between the high
holy seasons of the birth and death of Christ
and “ordinary time.” I have struggled
against the dictates of the secular mind
to linger in the forcefield of the divine,

resisted the fall into the profane and
unremarkable, grey hatching by which we
count our cell-wall days. But what if there is
no ordinary time, but only our failure
to awaken to sacred existence?

Then these celebrations are places in
the heart irrespective of calendar
and clock, openings to divine love
which is also our human love. Not
moments of time at all, but states of soul

to which longing restores us whenever
our memory of union breaks the trance
of the habitual. Can it be that,
at any point on those lonely miles we drove,
had we known it, we could have been home?

 

Thomas R. Smith lives in Wisconsin, USA, and have seven published collections so far, and was included in Diamond Cutters, edited by Jay Ramsay and Andrew Harvey. He has also edited several books, most recently Airmail, the correspondence of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer, published in the UK by Bloodaxe. Windy Day at Kabekona: New and Selected Prose Poems was published in 2018. His first prose book, Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival, is forthcoming from Folded Word Press in 2020.

A Sense of a Mirror Ending – a poem by Stapleton Nash

A Sense of a Mirror Ending

When you look at the mirror, there seems
Very little different, between the ancient world described in
The Bible, and the apocalypse
We all feel is coming. A vast stretching
Punishing holy desert, the dream of
A misplaced green space. Coarse flour and water
Acts as our ambrosia, our manna coming in tin cans, and any pilgrim
Could do far worse than to feast on locusts and honey.
Most of us would be very lucky to find any seafood we could stretch,
And dreams seem worth jettisoning for
The simple taste of an apple.

Genealogy becomes fantastic again, a tapestry
Of men who never seem to die, their women sewn on,
As good as nameless, just patches on the quilt. We speak
The names of other nations like incantations.
We spend our lives trying to get there,
But we never see over God’s iron mountain,
We never look into his green hills.

I remember one hot September walking back from a history lecture.
My pink skirt caught in a warm wind, full of city fumes.
But where has that wind been?
I felt the past stretching out in mathematical grandeur behind me,
And the future laying out eternal in front.
Its name was Genghis Khan,
Its name was Mansa Musa,
Its name was Lucy, a skeleton girl,
Its name was my own.

A friend’s mother walked the Camino this spring.
There she met a monk walking barefoot towards the cathedral.
An unbeliever herself, but warmed by the familial rites of the trail, she told him,
Go with grace. He said to her,
None of us do.

 

Stapleton Nash  was born and raised on Vancouver Island, where she grew up swimming, beach-combing, and writing letters to imaginary mermaid friends. Since then, she has lived in Montreal, where she studied literature, and more recently has been teaching English to children just outside of Taipei. She has had poems published in NewMag and The Mark

The Way the Light Falls – a poem by Lynn Woollacott

The Way the Light Falls

As a child in winter, I’d layer on sweaters,
pull socks on my hands and make an igloo –
a snowman for my sentry.
I’d dance with snow drifting from grey skies,
my brothers pelting me with snowballs.
I’d laugh and bombard them back with brilliance.

In spring standing beside hedgerows
spotting yellow-winged brimstone
and tattier-tortoiseshell, I’d be chased
and caught by cowboys, tied to a tree.
While waiting to be rescued
I’d count the fall of a million blossoms.

In summer, lying on bleached sand
I’d watch clouds arrive from over the sea:
white whales, dolphins, turtles – all of
earth’s fauna with light and pureness.
Sometimes my brothers would sneak up
and tip buckets of water over me,
soaked, I’d chase them, dangling live squid.

One autumn, I found a tall ship and oh, those silky
white sails – the billowing and promises
of them. I left my brothers and sailed away.
I might spend days in a crow’s nest
surrounded by winds flapping sails
and albatross up in the blue, gliding on thermals.

On dark nights, in the chill of sea fog,
I steer for diamond dust tumbling
seawards in a halo of moonlight.

 

Lynn Woollacott grew up with six brothers and three sisters – all older. She had many jobs from sewing buttons on cardigans to working as a lab technician in an all-girls school. She gained a BSc (Hons) with the Open University and went on to teach environmental studies at outdoor centres in Norfolk. Still yearning to write she studied creative writing with the University of East Anglia. Lynn has been widely published and won prizes for poetry, and has published two poetry collections with Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2011 and 2014, and her historical novel is available on Amazon. www.lynn.woollacott.co.uk

No Face but My Own – a poem by Kyle Laws

No Face but My Own
—after Santa Josefina, Peter Hurd

It seemed no accident when the walk
up to the doorway where scientists
had gone before was littered with sticks
assembled into Day of the Dead figures.

This, the entrance to Los Alamos
in 1942 prior to the drive up the hill,
where everyone who worked on the bomb
had to pass through the door.

I bought a charcoal of Santa Josefina
down the street in the superstitious way
you cross yourself long after you’ve attended
any church service. Even the extreme color

of geraniums in the courtyard spooked me
as if magenta, orange and pink could provide
a kind of lightning feared would detonate a test
so bright a girl blind since birth had seen.

Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO where she directs Line/Circle: Women Poets in Performance. Her collections include Ride the Pink Horse (Stubborn Mule Press, 2019), Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018), This Town: Poems of Correspondence with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017), So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015), and Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014). With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and France. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.