Magpie – a poem by Brian  Palmer

Magpie

You line this gift of sky with falling arcs—
up, down, then lower down up again, down—
the form of flight less crucial than the flight

itself. You’ve not enough resplendent plumes
that might paint green a Guatemalan jungle.
Instead, you sketch the wind with pencil tail.

You look for shade in cottonwoods; in truth,
as stoic in the heat, you shade yourself
and keep your heart eclipsed by your own wings.

On posts, in tangled snags, along thin lines,
in self-silhouette you prophesy nothing
like the returning bright Quetzalcoatl.

But let me tell you plain and simple bird:
I long to touch your black and white feathers.

.

Brian Palmer is inspired by the idea that everything lies in beauty along a continuum of emergence and decay and at any given moment has the capacity to inspire. Recently, he’s been published at The Ekphrastic Review, in Small Farmer’s Journal, and The Light Ekphrastic

 

Nothing Ordinary about This Fellow – a poem by Neal Whitman

Nothing Ordinary about This Fellow
in memory, a fib poem*

he was always skinny, so a fellow forester
took note that he was a sapling
his name would be ‘pling
the name stuck
modest
much
missed

way
off
blackened
in the sky
in the high mountains
a wedge-tailed eagle motionless
silent ascent at last – the current bore him away

*In a Fibonacci sequence, the first two numbers are 0 and 1. Each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. A fib poem uses those numbers for syllable count per line. Think of the 0 as the pause before starting to read the poem.

 

Retired in Pacific Grove, California, poet Neal Whitman and his wife, Elaine, a photographer, find that the meeting of land and sea inspire his word-pictures and her visual-pictures. Neal is a member of Bay Area Poets Coalition, Ina Coolbrith Circle, and California Coalition of Chaparral Poets.

Daniel the Prophet and a Spear of Grass – a poem by Janna Schledorn

Daniel the Prophet and a Spear of Grass

Another dream. The king knows what it means—
A fruitful tree chopped, stripped, scattered,
his fall from the roof of Babylon, disgraced,
displaced crazed beast with eagle-feather hair.

This king who cut Israel’s youth, cut life,
cut hope. . .scrapbooks of baptisms and
graduations, buried arrest records, photographs,
drunken daughters in leotards and fairy wings.

What god is this who turns men to oxen
exiled in the dew-wet field? Who fashions
love out of hate. Who springs hope beyond
a home, a wife, a child, a tree.

There is still a stump bound with a band
of iron and bronze, in the tender grass.

 

Janna Schledorn’s poetry has appeared in Adanna Literary Journal, Revelry and other journals. In 2016, she won the Thomas Burnett Swann Poetry Prize from the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Association of Florida. Poems from this series have also appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.

Miserere – a poem by Kate Garrett

Miserere

 
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

Psalm 51:5-6, King James Version

They say things like ‘hate the sin and love the sinner’, but by the time I came here the love of their God had long left me cold. It’s not for lack of trying that I couldn’t rebuild the fire. Whenever a spark shows its flickering face, I throw my soul as paraffin and paper to these small bursts of flame. I want Christ’s love and want to give him mine. I know my heart; I never doubted he could see inside it. But the others brought their bottled water beliefs, pulled me into airless rooms pumped full of their interpretations, smothered every chance at my salvation – they tore grace from my fingers, left swollen twisted knuckles where I tried to keep my grip from slipping.

Now I turn to my friend who brews tea from flowers. I play my guitar in her kitchen. She listens; she says the tuning suits the music the storm makes. Conversation leads to the past, the last century, turns to tales of family and doubts. Pieces of my faith have slipped out into her palm, she looks at them, says God is something we are and live within, then tilts her chin to the window as if the rain has started singing a new hymn. Wait a minute, she grabs her cards and shuffles – draws one and another and another, shows me cups, a hermit, a hanged man, a priest. More cups. She tells me, go back to church. And I know her ways are not for me, but I’m safe here.

 

Kate Garrett is a writer, witch, mama, and drummer who sometimes haunts 450 year old houses (as a heritage volunteer). Her next book, A View from the Phantasmagoria, is due out in October 2020 from Rhythm & Bones Press. She lives halfway up a hillside in Sheffield, England. www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

Blue Collar Angel – a poem by Mark Tulin

Blue Collar Angel

Dad woke me at 2 a.m.
It was hard to leave a warm bed
and a cherry-colored dream.
“It’s time for us to go to work,” Dad said,
“to buy fruit and vegetables for our store.”

It was bitter cold outside.
The winds rattled the double-pane windows
and the snow came down
hard and heavy
over the darkened houses of our street.

But I could not refuse.
Dad was my blue-collar angel
who told me to wear my long johns
and a heavy coat with the fleece-lined hood.
“And don’t forget your galoshes,” he reminded.

So, I wiped the crust from my eyes,
and left the comfort of the woolen blankets
as we made our way decisively
through the slushy streets of Philadelphia
into the soul of an unforgiving winter.
The two of us, breaking the silence of the morning.

 

Mark Tulin is a former therapist who lives in California. Mark has two poetry books available at Amazon, Magical Yogis and Awkward Grace. The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories will be published in August of 2020. He’s been featured in Poetry Village, Oddball Magazine, Poppy Road Review, among others.  Follow Mark at Crow On The Wire.

Planetary – a poem by Jesse Wolfe

Planetary

—like hopping on a moving train,
my duffel in hand: someone’s shouting,
maybe at me.

Either you escort me somewhere
or something else carries you.
You dreamed for years of California:
you said, our house may be smaller,
but sun will drench our evenings
(I’d just shoveled our porch
that sludgy Christmas in Vermont)
and your vision, like a planet, bloomed in my mind.
I saw gardens of exotic succulents
on a block of bungalows, so close to a beach
salt-breezes seasoned our meals.

Next, you wove fables around the synagogue:
somehow, our children—if we had them—would flower
in the canopy of my mother’s faith.

But nothing agreed to remain itself.
Not the language of computer coding,
not the markets for your whimsical figurines—
the dinosaur that folds into a car,
the astronaut whose movable arms
appear to dance and swim.
Not the faces of our friends
(Al’s, collapsed in bels palsy and depression,
Stella’s and Dave’s, whisked into memory
when he got hired in Japan),
nor my own, sagging and greying
as you reassessed your dreams.

We met in Milwaukee
(that bar’s now a small grocery store),
Springsteen blaring on the speakers.
You wore earrings then: planet earths, dangling
toward your shoulders.
I opened with a cliché:
something like, is the world your oyster?
You retorted, staring straight into me:
didn’t I think everything was possible?

 

Jesse Wolfe is a professor of English at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of Bloomsbury, Modernism, and the Reinvention of Intimacy (Cambridge UP, 2011) and the recipient of an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wolfe is the winner of the Hill-Müller Poetry and August Derleth Poetry Contests, and his work has been published in New Millennium WritingsPenumbraRed River ReviewRiver Poets JournalHenniker ReviewShanti, and elsewhere.

Cape of Good Hope – a poem by Marian Christie

Cape of Good Hope
For my father

Half of you is listening. Half of you sees the mountain, hard lines pushing against the sky. Half of you senses air’s faint breath, feels warmth like fingers where sunlight has sneaked beneath your hat. Your left hand acknowledges my touch.
I only half listened that day last year, as we walked through the fynbos on the slopes above Camps Bay. You spoke in the voice you used for children or for childhood, for stories of Piglet and of Pooh and how you were at school with Christopher Robin.
When the time comes, I want a Daddy to hold me by the hand.
I smiled, said nothing. We were a long way from The Hundred Acres Wood.
Spiked crests of birds of paradise ignite above their leaves. Half of you is present. Is the other half hidden, like the mountain when the south-east wind spreads a tablecloth of cloud? Or has your Daddy taken your right hand gently in His own, to lead the missing half of you past Lion’s Head into the light?
I don’t ask this, but I think this in the shadow of the mountain. Half of you listens to my silence. All of you cannot speak.

 

Marian Christie’s poetry has appeared in, among others, Allegro, Black Bough, Independent Variable and Pushing out the Boat. When not writing or reading poetry, Marian looks at the stars, puzzles over the laws of physics, listens to birdsong and crochets gifts for her grandchildren. She lives in Kent.
Website: https://marianchristiepoetry.net/
Twitter: @marian_v_o.

Easter Haiku – a poem by R.A. Lott

Easter Haiku

White cherries bloom
Through all the world. To them too:
“Hail, He is risen.”

Lilies trumpeting,
For Solomon shall be arrayed
Like one of these.

No rose yet,
But between the thorns,
The rosebud.

The old apple seed
Dies in the earth. Up springs
The Tree in blossom.

Winter passes.
Steadfast in the snow
Stands the Evergreen.

 

By day R.A. Lott works in academic administration at the University of Toronto, and by night she writes and translates poetry. Her pieces have appeared in First Things, Christian Century, and a number of smaller periodicals.

Myself, Looking Back – a poem by Elodie Rose Barnes

Myself, Looking Back
at Fountains Abbey

Sometime in the future I will be born
here, in this place
where water is woven with light
and reflection on reflection stretches
to the horizon

images that break
with the cry of a bird and the rippling beat
of wings

cracks that drip chanted prayers
through my bones.

Everything is muffled
by moss and guarded by ivy, not quite reclaimed
by time.

Sometime, long ago, I think I died here,

my skin nothing
but the horizon of time.

Immense, boundless.
Blue reflected on blue.

.

Elodie Rose Barnes is an author and photographer. She can usually be found in Spain, Paris or the UK, daydreaming her way back to the 1920s, while her words live in places such as Dust Poetry, Bold + Italic and trampset. Current projects include two chapbooks of poetry, and a novel-in-flash on the life of modernist writer Djuna Barnes. Find her online at http://elodierosebarnes.weebly.com, and on Twitter @BarnesElodie.

BOOM – a poem by C.T. McClintock

BOOM

and hope is painted
like a dogwood over a penny farthing
daguerreotyped for so long
like gardens on verandas
with little haggling leaves
or sons rapt with leatherwork
hair caught in their fingers
their foreboding gone for Lent

Dallis grass and moons like Ganymede
worlds made from hot matter, melted and bent
and Man watches from an airy railcar
ever set apart from the symphony

ascend to hallelujah
from sea ice to rice paddies
Taconic Mountains
all rolling and gone
raven on a branch
flicks her braided wings
brushes the horses
that remain unbranded
and in the knapweed
rhymes, Vesuvian
all bold and rabbity
connect us to the symphony

reflect back to us
our panicked need
reflect back to us
our panicked need

 

C.T. McClintock lives her best life in Brooklyn. She is a Doctoral Fellow at St. John’s University in Queens where she teaches undergraduate writing and works as the Assistant Editor of the St. John’s Humanities Review. Follow her on Instagram (@c.t.mcclintock) for her latest writing.