The Second Hand – a poem by Joseph Murphy

The Second Hand

Names leap ahead like hunting hounds,
with the belief they clear the road
of the journey’s unexpected obstructions.
— Luljeta Llshanaku

 

When a mountain was reshaped by a wing,
coins fell from an emptied pocket,
and a second hand
shaped by Buddha’s breath
paused.

Names fell away as a gate opened
within an emptied jar. Ahead
a radiance, obscuring
thought, action, remorse.

Mirrors mirrored nothing;
words unrequired.

And when the second hand
turned again, Buddha paused
at the edge of a stream,
to watch our names sprout
from the loam at his feet.

Joseph Murphy has been published in numerous literary journals and authored four poetry collections, The Shaman Speaks, Shoreline of the Heart, Having Lived and Crafting Wings. He is a member of the Colorado Authors’ League; for eight years was poetry editor for a literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs.

This Wasn’t What I Thought – a poem by M.J. Iuppa

This Wasn’t What I Thought

Not orange leaves, but wings
called wanderer—black-veined brown
found resting  on winter’s lawn.

Perfectly still— this monarch blends
in. No harm done, in spite of its weight;
its barbed feet anchored to sand.

Left untouched, meaning
this wasn’t what I thought—
that I have never truly understood

how insignificant death is until it happens.

 

M.J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017).For the past 31 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability & life’s stew.

The Uncertain Samaritan – a poem by John Brugaletta

The Uncertain Samaritan

The little brown bat was in my study
under my hat. I’d made a bat house for them
but it had never occurred to me that
one of them would work its way inside and
up the staircase to find its own dark place.

We took it to one of the windows,
opened the screen and placed it on a ledge,
hoping it wasn’t deranged by rabies,
and left it to find again the bat house.

There were no injuries that we could see,
no innkeeper to pay for food and wine,
and little chance that I’d ever see it again.

 

John J. Brugaletta edited South Coast Poetry Journal for ten years. He has published seven volumes of his own poems, the latest of which is Selected Poems (Future Cycle Press, 2019).

Feminist Angelus – a poem by Lu Skerratt

Feminist Angelus
Our Lady

Hail Mary
Woman of power
Prophet of God
Bringer of light
All generations have called you blessed
As mother
Lover
Resistance fighter
Pray for us as we turn to you

Gabriel reached out to Mary,
And trembling asked if she could, world
Yes,
she hugged her knees tight
And her belly became full

Hail Mary
Woman of power
Prophet of God
Bringer of light
All generations have called you blessed
As mother
Lover
Resistance fighter
Pray for us as we turn to you

Smoking by the bike sheds
Kissing boys with immature lips
Carrying, holding nurturing God
Her body shifting with fearful joy

Hail Mary
Woman of power
Prophet of God
Bringer of light
All generations have called you blessed
As mother
Lover
Resistance fighter
Pray for us as we turn to you

Through anger and shame
Hiding God under a school skirt
There came a light
Gushing waters of hope, and a gentle cry
That turned the world upside down

Hail Mary
Woman of power
Prophet of God
Bringer of light
All generations have called you blessed
As mother
Lover
Resistance fighter
Pray for us as we turn to you

Mary
Hold us like you held your baby,
A cry in one hand, bottle in the other
Those late nights when we encounter Christ, step by step
As mothers
Lovers
Resistance fighters

Always turning to you

 

Lu Skerratt is a non binary Anglican exploring embodiment through Christian leadership and queer non conforming experiences of faith. They are currently doing a DthM at Durham University looking at bodies and boundaries at the Eucharistic table, and are part of St Mark’s, Sheffield.

Bestowal – a poem by Sanjeev Sethi

Bestowal

Have been waiting atiptoe
for a correction to take place.
It is hunky-dory or not doable?
In such a tenure
is griffonage ready to record
a thank-you-note to oneself?

Markings predate us.
Only those who are wet
behind the ears
envision it another way.
Ingenerate fealty is His grant.
Welcome it with winsomeness.

 

Sanjeev Sethi is published in over 25 countries. He has more than 1200 poems printed or posted in venues around the world. Wrappings in Bespoke, is Winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by the Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. Its his fourth book. It will be issued in 2020. He lives in Mumbai, India.

If I Wake – a poem by Kristin LaFollette

If I Wake

If I wake up to a knock
at the door, I will need to
pull the resin from my eyes—

My partner will ask if I
heard the noise. I won’t
understand what he says
at first as my nerves try

to regain life

after a deep sleep in which I
dreamt of an event in my honor
that I was unable to get to no
matter how hard I tried.

The knocking will stop but I will
get out of bed anyway,
remembering
very suddenly the night
before when I was driving

in my car,

my dog asleep in the backseat,
the sound of her breath
synonymous
with the slow-growing grass
near the side of the road.
I will remember the way my
skin felt full of oxygen and
words. I will think of the

people I heard earlier who
spoke about mothers and
fathers and children and
brothers and nieces.

When I wake up, I will
recognize the teeth in
my mouth as a kind of
faith, a place of

strength and blood.

 

Kristin LaFollette is a writer, artist, and photographer and is the author of the chapbook, Body Parts (GFT Press, 2018). She is a professor at the University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, IN, USA) and serves as the Art Editor at Mud Season Review. You can visit her on Twitter at @k_lafollette03 or on her website at kristinlafollette.com.

Marcescent Leaves – a poem by Joan M. Howard

Marcescent Leaves

Snow is only on mountain peaks;
their sides are brown, most trees barren.
Oak leaves stay on low branches;
slow wind turns them east. Lake also
flows slowly, like our slowing,
our white hair, old clinging.
These dry leaves still hold their form,
some function serve though green is gone.
What life they have is all that’s known―
tree, water, blue sky, birds and lake,
to stay in this strange paradise
until harsh message sent―release.
Oak tree slowly frees the leaf;
our bodies take the spirit.

.

Joan M. Howard’s poetry has appeared  in  the Aurorean,  Lucid Rhythms, The Road Not Taken: The Journal of Formal Poetry, The Deronda Review, Victorian Violet  Press,  POEM, The Wayfarer, Mezzo Cammin and other literary journals. She has written two books: Death and Empathy: My Sister Web in 2017 and  Jack, Love, and the Daily Grail  published by Kelsay Books. Joan is a former teacher with an MA in German and English Literature and is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network (www.netwestwriters.blogspot.com) and Georgia Poetry Society, She enjoys birding and kayaking on the beautiful waters of Lake Chatuge near Hiawassee.

In Praise of Oceans – a poem by KB Ballentine

In Praise of Oceans –

white crests leaping for heaven
only to surge on shores with rock, with shell
to spume again and then retreat.
The heave and swell, peak and trough of salt
licking skin, crusted dry under sun,
shedding onto towels striped and damp.
Praise be to seaweed somersaulting through coral,
threadfin spied and gripped by gulls
laughing across the draughts.
Praise to molecules of hydrogen and oxygen spinning
across grains of sand roving coast to coast
by rivers’ mouths, by marsh and mangrove,
from clouds blooming silver-gray over the horizon,
fog and mist smudging the sinking sun.

 

.

KB Ballentine’s sixth collection, The Light Tears Loose,
appeared this summer with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard
Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also
appears in anthologies including Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of
Peace (2017) and In Plein Air (2017). Learn more at
www.kbballentine.com.

MEDITATION ON RADIANCE SUTRA #77 – a poem by Elaine Fletcher Chapman

MEDITATION ON RADIANCE SUTRA #77

I close the blinds to traffic on Harpersville,
trash people threw last night while passing.
Later I will pick up plastic cups and wrappers
from Sonic and McDonalds. Cigarette butts.

I open the blinds facing the reservoir, morning
light through the newly budding leaves. Some
call it scrub brush. I call it forest, the woods.

We take what is offered. Attempt to make
it our own. We are temporary. The parsonage:
Not a borrowed house, but an earned one.
When the choir director lived here, the living room
housed his practice organ.  Walls hold

vibrations. Yesterday, when waking from a deep sleep,
I heard the chords from a chorus of soft Amens.

 

Elaine Fletcher Chapman (formerly Elaine Walters McFerron) is the author of a volume of poems, RESERVOIR forthcoming with Saint Julian Press in late 2020, Hunger for Salt published by Saint Julian Press and a letterpress chapbook, Double Solitude published by Green River Press. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor teaching Literature at Old Dominion University, Chapman worked on staff at The Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College for 18 years. She founded The Writer’s Studio where she teaches poetry, nonfiction and an ongoing class, On Keeping a Journal. She also provides editing services and organizes Poetry Readings and Crossing Over Writing Retreats.  For the last 39 years she has worked as a therapist in private practice. Also she is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation teacher. She has poems forthcoming in Hoot Review, Cloudbank and Poetry Pacific. Her poems have been published in 8 Poems, Rabid Oak, The Tishman Review, The EcoTheo Review, The Cortland Review, Connotation, The Sun, Calyx, Poet Lore, 5AM, Salamander, and others. She was guest blogger on The Best American Poetry Blog and The Solstice Literary Magazine blog. She now lives on the West side of the Chesapeake Bay near the James River in Newport News, Virginia. She also spends a great deal of time in the San Francisco Bay area. Trailer and Poetry Videos for Hunger For Salt: www.vimeo.com/elainefletcherchapman or http://www.elainefletcherchapman

On Dartmoor – poetry by Diana Durham

On Dartmoor

1. Princeton

Billowed mass of cloud door
light spilling
from its yellow threshold

onto the path before us

rising south and west
to the tor,

weather-messaged, Inca
asymmetrical

where wild ponies shelter
behind out of the wind
and a black foal approaches
close-up
to you, out of focus
in the lens.

To the true west a trail out
into open moor
the further landmass
dropping away, stepped
cliffs falling
to the far off
sea.

On our about-face
trek, the village
not so very far away:
a line of houses
on a climb northwest
the radio tower’s marker disappearing
into mist
and to the east, grey tall-
chimneyed prison buildings
circled with Victorian granite
(not razor wire-topped chain link).

Inmates unseen, unknown
inside that January sadness,

closeby to us on our wonder-eyed
first owning
of this wild expanse.

2. Corsham Hill

The oak
holding up its empty
candelabra
to the winter sky

on the middle wire
strung from the telephone pole
a robbin
chest throbbing-
sings

drops

disappears

under the mist-touched
brow
of the nearest up curve,
Corsham Hill.

Continuous this rise
of the moorland

and soft procession
of wind rain-saturated air,

overlapping

so I cannot make out
is it cloud
trailing down

or some not yet clearly back-lit
outcrop
reaching up?

The kissing touch persists
through late afternoon

through dusk,
and evening dark.

 

 

Diana Durham is the author of three poetry collections: Sea of Glass, To the End of the Night and Between Two Worlds; the novel The Curve of the Land and two nonfiction books: The Return of King Arthur and, most recently, Coherent Self, Coherent World: a new synthesis of Myth, Metaphysics & Bohm’s Implicate Order.