To a Pigeon in Paris
Your iridescent breast
deep purple, silver, magenta fast flutter
shimmering mother of pearl
the same as shells in the sea
Your red-rimmed, dull stupid eye
senseless & opaque, your rhythmic
beak peck at bakery crumbs
regular as hands on a clock
Autumn yellow leaves
sticking to wet cobblestone
people draped on bent cane chairs
faces to the sun drinking coffee and wine
Above all the single flap of your wings
against cold cobalt sky—
the supreme sound of it, one fast clap
way too close to me, mere inches from my face
Thank you for your ordinary, ideal flight
allowing my tired heart instinct to alight
Julia Caroline Knowlton PhD MFA is a poet and Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta. As a young poet, she won an Academy of American Poets Prize. In 2018 she was named a Georgia Author of the Year and in 2022, her work was publicly installed as part of the Georgia Poetry in the Parks project. The author of five books, her poems have been published in journals such as ONE ART, Trouvaille Review, Roanoke Review and Rust & Moth.
Between the Knowable and the Unknowable
A crack, sliver of space, hairline fissure
where dreams go, but never nightmares,
where names you can’t remember and phone
numbers slip away, letters jumbled with digits,
where nouns abscond as you age and impostor
homophones intrude. They slither just out of
reach, blurred, impossible to reclaim, along with
the scent of your first lover, the particular timbre
of your first dog’s bark, prayers and song lyrics
you memorized between seven and seventeen.
In that crevice, answers to lifelong questions:
Who is my true self? How do I muddle best?
What am I doing? What comes next?
Joan Mazza is a retired medical microbiologist and psychotherapist, and taught workshops focused on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six self-help psychology books, including Dreaming Your Real Self. Her poetry has appeared in The Comstock Review, Prairie Schooner, Slant, Poet Lore, The Nation, and other publications. She lives in rural central Virginia and writes every day.
Looking, looking. Through a box of postcards. Her collection. All these postcards. Must be a hundred by now. Maybe more. At least. And then she finds it. The one with the photo of a Yorkie. Yes. That’s the one. That postcard. “Dear Elaine,” she writes. “When I was meditating this morning. You know. Mindful breathing. Watching my breath. Concentrating on that. Inbreath, outbreath. Inbreath, outbreath. Like Thich Nhat Hanh teaches. I had a revelation. Thich would call it “insight.” I know. But it felt bigger than that. Bigger. Much, much. It was this. That I don’t need anything. To be happy. That happiness can only be found in the present moment. Here. Now. No matter where I am. Anywhere. With anyone. Or without. I can be happy. In this moment. I mean. I used to think I needed something. You know. To be happy. That I needed to move to another city. To have more friends. To participate in more activities. Everything we’re taught we need. To be happy. But that’s not true. Happiness. It’s already here. Now. In me. In this present moment. I don’t need anything else. To be happy. None of us do. Imagine that? Light. So light. That’s how I felt. And free. That too. Anyway. I thought I’d mention this. To give you a smile. If you haven’t had one. Today. If you’re not smiling. Already. Like me. Right now. Smiling, smiling. Sorry. I can’t stop.”
Laura Stamps loves to play with words in her fiction and prose poetry. Author of 48 novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry books. Most recently: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press 2021), DOG DAZED (Kittyfeather Press 2022), and THE GOOD DOG (Prolific Pulse Press 2023). Nominations: Pulitzer Prize (1) and Pushcart (7).
Who would want to miss the world?
The barn swallow’s nest under the eve,
the fiddleheads unfolding in the forest,
the patter of spring rain
the way the mourning dove speaks to us
of our longings
and how unfailingly sunlight and moonglow
remind us that all light casts shadows.
The complexities of our lives urge us away
from knowing things as they are
from realizing that what we are drawn to
waiting to be noticed.
Michael S. Glaser, Professor Emeritus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, served as Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2004 – 2009. He now co-leads workshops which embrace poetry as a means of self-reflection .He is the co-editor of The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA 2012). (more at http://www.michaelsglaser.com )
I would sit inert.
The BB gun pumped
The imagination, loaded
With illusions of the hunt,
Stalking barn swallows
In the beams they haunt.
Spit a BB and swallowed
As they flew away with each
Miss, until the miss wasn’t
A miss. A shock of feathers
Lie still there, a spot of blood,
A flush of surprise, throat frozen.
Crestfallen. Fun was in the pretense
Of hunt and hunter, not the shot
Or success. I gave it away, the gun,
To someone else’s son and took up
A simple stick, a spear, and went
Afield where the butterflies were.
Bruce Morton divides his time between Montana and Arizona. His poems have appeared in many magazines, most recently in Ibbetson Street, Sheila-Na-Gig, ONE ART, London Grip, and Ink Sweat & Tears. He was formerly dean at the Montana State University library.
God entrusts His words, His strength His
Archangel, the land’s guardian. I was conceived,
Born to describe, grown to shape with words.
Rufous hummingbird my yearn for meaning.
Imagination my Tree of Knowledge. In shade
Elohim, from whom you pass the pomegranate.
Let me interpret the seeds on my tongue.
Grant me the future salvia, sage of diviners
And the scape. Clear my lungs, so I could
Bring the long exhalation to your horn. If
Revelation be theirs, if annunciation sounds,
Incarnation be the fruit we at last deserve.
Every ear shall know the ring, brass and
Light, brilliant as the way words sing.
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. He writes poetry and fiction. He considers the sacred an important element of his personal poetics. He advocates animal rights and living comforts. He has three beloved dogs.
Not the Ascent
I was growing with the mountain,
and rising to meet its breath.
I found my filled hips level with the glacier,
and lifted my eyes to it as I was taught to do,
blinding myself blue with the frosted sky.
I asked the mountain if it would hold me,
and before it could reply, I knew it was not
the ascent I wanted, but something else.
It was chasing the last glint of moon
on a fox tail, running off trail
through a cloud of wet flowers,
and sinking into their cold honey
as each stem towered above my spine.
It was listening for that ongoing
clang of cowbells swelling in each bud,
until I no longer cursed the spiders
living below for bites that bled black.
It was remembering how I had passed
this field so many times and wondered
what would fly from its waving grass.
The stillness asked me where I was
and I did not know how to answer.
I had not been looking at all.
Now, I was growing again with the mountain,
falling to meet its breath through each tree
entering my lungs, until all I carried
was the wind and the wind was carrying me.
I asked the mountain again if it would hold
my body and bring me closer to itself,
to love me beyond all disbelief.
It was not the ascent it wanted from me,
but something else, and it was blooming.
Nora Kirkham is a writer from Maine currently based in Scotland. She was raised in Japan, Australia, and Eastern Europe. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from University College Cork, Ireland. Her writing has been featured in Rock & Sling, Clayjar Review, Ruminate Magazine, Tokyo Poetry Journal, and St Katherine Review.
Sattva at Large
The door said “Shekinah,
Inc.” I started to knock but
heard “come” there you
sat behind a big desk
cascade of yellow hair
like desert hyacinth
tunic matching the
rose in your left hand
— were you writing
with it, like pink quill
whose feathers had
your eyes smiled a
blue I was so close to
training is complete”
which was good as I
was 70 and out of work
“What’s my position?”
“Sitting standing walking”
eyes blossomed wider like
smile, I could see wisps
of white floating across
them you put down the
stem “Your title,” lids
blinked like years “I
like to name the poem
last” you slide a folder
across with imprint
of round glasses and
a scar white-outed in
coral and blue I open
it; calligraphy combining
Obrigado font and Ben
Sattva at Large
“Salary?” I ask
“Taken care of” and
then I realized the entire
earth of your eyes
Wayne-Daniel Berard, PhD, is an educator, poet, writer, shaman, and sage. An adoptee and former Franciscan seminarian, his adoption search led to the discovery and embrace of his Jewishness. Wayne-Daniel is a Peace Chaplain, an interfaith clergy person, and former college chaplain. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His latest books of poetry include the full-length Art of Enlightenment and a chapbook Little Ghosts on Castle Floors, poems informed by the Potterverse, both with Kelsay Books. He is the co-founding editor of Soul-Lit, an online journal of spiritual poetry (www.soul-lit.com). Wayne-Daniel lives in Mansfield, MA with his wife, The Lovely Christine.
For Dorothy, From Will
Like a householder at winter dusk, pulling down
one blind then another, are you on some time
table I cannot comprehend shuttered within
warm against the onset of change? Are you captive
inside the bright casket of a failing brain,
or am I prisoner, shut outside in this night’s
long slow advance? You seem lighter than before,
unburdened by memory and habit, you sing
still but the quavery voice, off key, that I hear
is not what you are listening to. What do you hear
now, here now, beside me? Close by but out of reach,
as you wait between the worlds, do you hear glory
rolling through on golden clouds, inside, outside, is
that untranslated joy the threshold where we meet?
Diana Durham is the author of four poetry collections: Sea of Glass, To the End of the Night, Between Two Worlds and Labyrinth; the novel The Curve of the Land and two nonfiction books: The Return of King Arthur and Coherent Self, Coherent World: a new synthesis of Myth, Metaphysics & Bohm’s Implicate Order.
Every day, I witness new blossoms in the park.
The day before, it was a black cat meditating by the pond,
Unperturbed by the shifting drapery of the sun.
Yesterday, I saw the water waltzing
To the tune of the breeze,
Oblivious to prying eyes.
Today I saw the ancient Willows,
Twinkling under the golden light,
Heads bowed in gratitude.
At long last, I took out the forsaken trowel,
And ploughed the fallow tract of the soul,
Hoping for Cadmium Yellow blossoms to peep out, someday.
Moonmoon Chowdhury is a poet and writer. Her works have appeared in Borderless journal, Tell Me Your Story, A second cup of tea by The Hive Publishers, Sylvia magazine, The Pine Cone Review, Sonic Boom Journal, and more. She is currently based in Amsterdam.